Blog Archives

Pardon our appearance…

November 15, 2008 | 14 comments
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We’ve just completed upgrading the software that runs Times and Seasons. The upgrade requires us to also update the files that control how the site looks. It may take a while for us to get Times and Seasons to the way we want it to look, so please be patient. Read more »

What Should Mormons Do?

November 12, 2008 | 44 comments
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The Associated Press reported yesterday that Mormon employees at the University of Phoenix benefited from discrimination based on religion, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The University settled the suit, paying $1.9 million to 52 employees (an average of more than $36,000 each!) and agreeing to a “zero-tolerance” policy to religious discrimination, but did not admit wrongdoing. What’s up with that? Read more »

What of the Mormons (in Congress)?

November 5, 2008 | 34 comments
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The results are in, and the Mormon officials in congress is facing some changes as a result. From what I can tell, the new congress will include either 5 or 6 Mormons in the Senate and 9 in the House of Representatives. Read more »

A Marvelous Work and a Cacophony

October 31, 2008 | 6 comments
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Last week’s sacrament meeting was unique. While on the surface it was just the annual Primary Sacrament Meeting program, the room was packed and the overflow took up most of the cultural hall. But the best part was the congregational hymns, a joyful cacophany that mangled the hymns, making them hard to understand, but communicating clearly the spirit. Read more »

Mormon Halloween: Its Origin and Destiny

October 27, 2008 | 52 comments
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I’m not sure whether or not Halloween is actually “Mormon” to any significant degree. Mormons generally participate in the holiday here in the U.S., of course. And we even have a few requirements of the holiday in a Church setting — for example, we don’t allow masks at Church-sponsored Halloween events. But I don’t think that these facts quite give us a Mormon Halloween. Perhaps what we need is a good, Mormon-specific monster! Read more »

Essentials in Church Categorization

October 17, 2008 | 14 comments
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Marc Bohn’s post yesterday on how Mormonism is classified became a legal issue reminded me that the issue of how Mormonism is classified is anything but clear, especially when non-Mormons are doing the classifying. We say we are Christian, and evangelicals claim we are not. We don’t want to be called Catholic or Protestant (or Eastern Orthodox for that matter, but that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue). But despite our intentions, Mormonism is classified in all sorts of different ways by many different observers and for many different purposes. We’ve been classified all over the place. Read more »

A Compendium of Mormon News?

October 10, 2008 | 62 comments
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For the past couple weeks I’ve received email reports, forwarded to me from a friend, written by a lawyer who is LDS and who is prosecuting a counselor in a Stake Presidency in a ponzi scheme. The situation is sad, the email messages fascinating and the news that this is a counselor in a stake presidency can’t be found anywhere. Should it? I think so. Read more »

Key to the Culture of Mormons

October 3, 2008 | 81 comments
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Last Saturday I gave a walking tour of Mormon history sites in lower Manhattan, one of the services our stake history committee offers regularly. One stop on the tour is the location where an early LDS newspaper, The Mormon, was published by John Taylor. That newspaper featured an interesting statement in its masthead–what it called The Mormon Creed. Read more »

The Great Unity

September 26, 2008 | 32 comments
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Last weekend I went to the penultimate game in Yankee Stadium, and the next night watched the last game on television, complete with its post-game wake. Over nearly 20 years I’ve attended meetings there, letting a place and a culture become an almost religious part of my life. Its a Temple of baseball. Read more »

Doctrines of Localization

September 6, 2008 | 37 comments
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Doctrines of Localization

In April, 1998, President Hinckley visited New York City to speak at a special fireside held in Madison Square Garden, and our stake provided a 100+ voice choir for the event. I remember thinking at the time that with all of the talented Church members in New York City, the choir should be permanent. Read more »

Only a Clerk

September 4, 2008 | 18 comments
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Soon after I was made a ward clerk 20 years ago this month, I walked into the clerk’s office to find a xerox copy of an article posted there. The article was the text of a letter, sent by one of my predecessors, to the Church’s membership department, and had somehow found its way to Sunstone. It was titled “A Religion of Clerks.” The author, Randal Quarles, has since served as Undersecretary of the Treasury. Read more »

Moderation in all Salt

September 2, 2008 | 55 comments
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Like in many Mormon families, my siblings and I helped fix dinner. On Sunday’s I loved to fix the mashed potatoes. It was in making mashed potatoes that I learned early that though a little is good, a lot is not necessarily better. Early on, I served a large bowl (there were 8 of us) of mashed potatoes after thinking that if a little salt was good, . . . Read more »

Mormon Language

September 1, 2008 | 46 comments
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I can’t resist telling this one again. Last May in priesthood meeting the photographers collecting photos for the ward directory suggested that the photos might end up on the “Blogosphere.” After they mentioned the word “Blogosphere” three times, I replied: “In the Church, we call it the “Bloggernacle.” To my surprise, this drew gaffaws from the entire room, as if I had invented the term there and then as a joke of some kind. Read more »

What of the BYU?

August 31, 2008 | 126 comments
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Several years ago a returned missionary acquaintance was told, on applying to BYU, that he needed ‘academic repenting’ before he could be admitted. Read more »

The Way to Translation

August 29, 2008 | 34 comments
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Several years ago bookseller Curt Bench put together an annotated list of the 50 most important Mormon books published before 1980. While I won’t claim that everyone will agree with his assessment, I’ll be very surprised if anyone objects to more than 25% of the list. Read more »

What to do about Deseret Book?

August 26, 2008 | 48 comments
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For the past decade, I’ve suggested that Deseret Book is one of the significant impediments to the growth of Mormon culture outside those elements involving worship. LDS books, music, film, art and other cultural products, especially innovative ones, are hampered by Deseret Book’s size, focus and control of the market for LDS materials. What can we do about it? Read more »

What is an Association Worth?

August 24, 2008 | 60 comments
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This past week I received a card in the mail from the BYU Alumni Association, asking for my help in “editing” my biographical information in an “Alumni Directory” in preparation. While I’ve certainly given the Alumni Association biographical information in the past, for some reason this time I started asking myself “is this worth my time?” and, in the Mormon context, “is this worth anyone’s time?” Read more »

Salvation or Happiness?

August 21, 2008 | 33 comments
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During the last few years, I’ve noticed that less often is “the plan of salvation” used in General Conference, and more often we hear “the plan of happiness.” Anyone know why? Read more »

Why Visit Mountain Meadows?

August 20, 2008 | 46 comments
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A week ago I visited Mountain Meadows for the first time. I was surprisingly hard to find. While the site does appear on maps of the area, there aren’t any signs until you get within a mile of the entrance. That is a shame. Read more »

What Model for Spreading Mormon Culture?

August 19, 2008 | 29 comments
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Ever been in one of the few LDS stores outside the United States? or in countries that don’t speak English? The selection can be quite discouraging. Read more »