Blog Archives

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 »

Notes on the Saturday Afternoon Session

October 2, 2010 | 4 comments
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Notes and reactions to the Saturday Afternoon Session of Conference: Elder Hales: Spoke of sending LDS materials to an old friend and getting a letter back from the friend complaining of terms that he didn’t understand, such as “agency.” Elder Hales said he confirmed that our definition wasn’t in the online dictionary he consulted. He then gave a long description of our beliefs about agency, including the plan of salvation. Told story of being told to varnish a floor and literally “painting himself into a corner.” I’m fascinated by the way that we, Mormons, use terms differently from others.... Read more »

Notes on the Saturday Morning Session

October 2, 2010 | 12 comments
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The following is my own summary and reactions to the Saturday Morning Session of General Conference. President Monson: Spoke rather briefly. He welcomed everyone to conference and mentioned that 4 Temples were dedicated since the last conference. He then announced plans to construct 5 additional Temples. He also urged members to serve missions, saying that it is an obligation and duty for young men, welcome from young women, and needed from senior couples. Read more »

Who Else is Passionate for Moderation?

September 29, 2010 | 102 comments
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Who Else is Passionate for Moderation?

Last General Conference Elder Quentin L. Cook suggested that we need to improve the quality of discourse in our country, following the Church’s own statement of almost a year ago. And the suggestion may have drawn some action, since in July the Church-owned Bonneville Media’s radio stations started letting the most egregious of its talk show hosts go, including Sean Hannity. More recently, the Deseret News stopped allowing comments on news story pages and KSL dropped comments altogether on its website, all because of the lack of civil discourse. The overall message seems clear: “Take it down a notch.” Read more »

Give us this day our Daily, One-of-a-Kind, World-Famous, Awesome Magic Brand Bread

September 27, 2010 | 26 comments
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Give us this day our Daily, One-of-a-Kind, World-Famous, Awesome Magic Brand Bread

By Adrienne Cardon I was just a Beehive when those rosy, soft around the edges Homefront commercials rolled out on late-night television. These iconic spots featured families in motion, well-coifed moms and busy pops who metamorphosed from 90’s corporate dads to storyteller/ballplayer dads in 30 seconds. Family, isn’t it about time? asked the ads. They were a bit schmaltzy, they were a bit dewy, they were a bit, well backlit. But here’s much forgotten takeaway – they were effective. This little tagline, this bookend to each commercial was extremely successful. Little by little,... Read more »

An Apostle on Muslims

September 21, 2010 | 46 comments
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An Apostle on Muslims

Yesterday, I read the following comments on Muslims by an LDS Apostle: I am aware it is not without a great deal of prejudice that we as Europeans, and Americans, and Christians in religion and in our education, so called, have looked down upon the history of Muhammad, or even the name; and even now we may think that Islam, compared with Christianity as it exists in the world, is a kind of heathenism, or something dreadful… Read more »

Stop Forwarding Lies and Hate!

September 2, 2010 | 108 comments
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It happened again. Another batch of forwarded emails from my family, filled with misinformation, outright lies and sometimes even hate. Once again I went through them message by message, looking them up on snopes, responding to point out the misleading parts, the lies, and the hate. What should I do? Read more »

Temples & Mosques & Zoning

August 18, 2010 | 203 comments
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Temples & Mosques & Zoning

Although I grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs when the Temple was being built, I don’t remember the controversy and protests to its construction, since I was just a deacon when it was dedicated. I’ve been told that there were objections from the neighbors — one of the early examples of what has become a very normal part of constructing a Temple both in and outside of the U.S. Read more »

Redefining Morality in the Public Sphere

July 29, 2010 | 20 comments
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Redefining Morality in the Public Sphere

This past week more than 10,000 scientists launched the Vienna Declaration, a call for a major change in handling drug crimes and treatment. Noting that the global war on drugs has failed, the group wants governments to use scientific methods to determine policy instead of, as one health professional puts it, “a moralistic approach.” Read more »