Blog Archives

My Least Favorite Prooftext

April 13, 2004 | 38 comments
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Here it is: What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38) Read more »

Good Friday–George Herbert

April 9, 2004 | 5 comments
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O my chief good, How shall I measure out thy blood? How shall I count what thee befell, And each grief tell? Shall I thy woes Number according to thy foes? Or, since one star showed thy first breath, Shall all thy death? Read more »

On the bearing of complicated and complicating testimony

April 6, 2004 | 229 comments
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In the comments thread of the post about Nate’s little problem, Ryan articulately described a related problem with Mormon liberals: “The reason I bring that up is that I believe the character and motivation transfer closely to the snark, which is simply the better-educated cousin of the simpler debunker. I have no problem with the beliefs of my less “orthodox” friends, who prefer to think more critically about church hierarchy, history, doctrine, etc. than I do. My problem is that they wish so often to be the cool, informed person that is able to show why the simple believers... Read more »

Lighter Fare

March 31, 2004 | 39 comments
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In the long tradition of Mormon women trying to ease discomfort of all kinds with food, I thought I’d try to distract us from contentious topics with casserole talk. My children have recently discovered Jello. This is a development I have worked hard to avoid for 7 years, and I am chagrined. Naturally they love it–after all, what’s not to like about a tasty combination of sugar, animal hooves, petroleum byproducts, and scary chemical dyes? But my resistance to this peculiarly Mormon food has been a point of honor for me for a long time, and I’m having a... Read more »

Easter Music

March 30, 2004 | 7 comments
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Everyone listens to Handel’s Messiah at Christmastime, but it was originally performed at Eastertime, and the Easter portion of the piece has some gorgeous and infrequently performed gems, like the tenor aria “Behold and see if there be any sorrow” and the soprano aria that follows “But thou didst not leave his soul in hell.” So if you haven’t listened lately, dust off your CDs and listen to the WHOLE THING, not just the MoTab recording of the “highlights.” There are lots of good recordings out there, but I like Christopher Hogwood’s with the Academy of Ancient Music, because... Read more »

Prophecy in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

March 24, 2004 | 25 comments
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Last week’s Sunday School lesson, like many in our ward, was a string of scripture verses taken out of context, interspersed with quotations from random General Authorities on the keywords in each verse. Many talks assume a similar format these days. It occurred to me that these lessons and talks would not have been possible even five years ago, and that perhaps we ought to spend a little time paying attention to the changes wrought by lds.org. Read more »

The Times and Seasons Song Contest

March 20, 2004 | 32 comments
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Lest anyone miss it, here is a gem from Grasshopper that was hiding in the comments: Jonah was a prophet, swallowed by a whale. When he was on board, the ship just couldn’t sail. So they tossed him over, next thing that he knew, Nineveh repented, Jonah had to, too. Swallow the prophet, swallow the prophet, swallow the prophet, won’t get away; Swallow the prophet, swallow the prophet, swallow the prophet; he’ll find the way. I hereby nominate this song and Kaimi’s “Put Potatoes with the Veal” (which I can’t find; what thread was it in, Kaimi??) as the... Read more »

Another Reason not to see The Passion

March 19, 2004 | 14 comments
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See here for the AP story, here for Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s witty riff. Read more »

Apologia of a critical believer

March 18, 2004 | 35 comments
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In the long comments thread on Karen’s post on women’s issues, Brent has done the inevitable: accused those who criticize the “revealed structure” of the church of faithlessness. Brent gets kudos for stating his opinion forthrightly and eloquently. His is a criticism that gets to the heart of many divisive discussions between Mormons of different temperaments and ideological persuasions, so I am hijacking the comments thread to address the issue separately. Read more »

More Family Night Fun at the Harris House

March 16, 2004 | 10 comments
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For reasons that remain opaque to me, my two oldest children (ages 7 and 5) have lately become enamored of the story of the ten cleansed lepers, and regularly ask to have it told to them. Last night, during family home evening, they asked to hear it again. We obliged, and when we got to the part where the one returns to give thanks, Steve asked, “And what did Jesus say?” Sam (3) said “You’re welcome!” After I picked myself up from the floor, it seemed to me that, in fact, this might have been the expected response from... Read more »

Woman charged with murder for refusing C-section

March 12, 2004 | 22 comments
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Hey, all you legal eagles! Somebody please explain what in the world the Utah D.A. who’s charging Melissa Rowland with murder for refusing a cesaearean section could be thinking. Read more »

The Mormon Jesus

March 11, 2004 | 17 comments
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I tried to ask this question earlier, in the context of The Passion, but it pretty quickly got lost in another round of beating the moribund R-rated movies horse. So I’ll ask again, without the attempt at pop-culture referentiality. How has Mormon Christology changed in the last half-century or so? And why? Read more »

The Passion vs. The Last Temptation

March 2, 2004 | 78 comments
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(I blush to confess that) I’m old enough to remember the release of The Last Temptation of Christ. While there was some discussion of the film in the student ward I attended, I don’t remember it being nearly as big a kerfuffle (or “brou-hahr-hahr” as they say around here) as The Passion has been. I’m sure that not nearly as many Mormons saw The Last Temptation as will see The Passion. I can think of several possible reasons for this: Read more »

FHE with a future defense attorney

March 1, 2004 | 9 comments
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So, tonight our Family Home Evening was a review of our Family Laws, which were composed when the kids were 6 months, 2, and 4 years old, and which need review and minor adjustments pretty often. We thought that our 7-year-old, and maybe our 5-year-old were ready for the notion that actions can have both natural consequences and consequences imposed by an authority of some sort. We chose what seemed like a simple example–driving through a red light (natural consequence: accident, imposed consequence: ticket). The following discussion ensued: Read more »

Lent

February 24, 2004 | 12 comments
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Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season for many Christians. At Christmastime, there was some conversation about the virtues of non-Mormon worship, including the observance of the Christian calendar. Read more »

Sunflower-bordered roads

February 21, 2004 | one comment
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Nate’s post on landscape and the excellent comments there put me in mind of another favorite Mormon bit of literary loveliness, from Willa Cather’s My Antonia: Read more »

What I did over summer vacation

February 19, 2004 | 23 comments
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Last summer, I belatedly spent my first term at BYU, as a Summer Fellow at the Smith Institute for Church History. There were eight of us, working under the direction of Claudia Bushman. Our topic was the history of Mormon women in the 20th century. Read more »

The Grammar of Inequity

February 18, 2004 | 50 comments
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All this talk about scriptures brings up a perennial discussion topic which I think has so far gone undiscussed on Times & Seasons. Does it matter that the language of our scriptures is all based on older English usage which allowed the use of he/him/his to refer to persons of either gender? How about in our hymns? Read more »

Humility and Excellence

February 17, 2004 | 8 comments
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*Warning: Lengthy and self-indulgent blathering!* On Sunday, I had what might have been, for a better person, a humbling experience. For me, it was merely humiliating. I was playing a violin solo for the special musical number during Sacrament Meeting. This in itself is a little embarrassing for me–I was a decent violinist a long time ago, but haven’t taken lessons or practiced seriously in many years, so I’m really not very good anymore, but there’s nobody better in my ward, and I’ve thought it important to offer my talents, such as they are, even though a bushel feels... Read more »

A Sabbath poem

February 15, 2004 | 2 comments
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from “The Brewing of Soma”–John Greenleaf Whittier Dear Lord and Father of mankind, Forgive our foolish ways! Reclothe us in our rightful mind, In purer lives thy service find, In deeper reverence, praise. Read more »

Et in unam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam?

February 13, 2004 | 8 comments
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Hey. I keep noticing all kinds of references to Catholic thought around here. Is this a new trend in Mormon studies? The influence of _First Things_? A preoccupation of Mormon lawyers? A fluke coincidence of personal interests? What? Read more »

A Transparent Hypothetical

February 11, 2004 | 66 comments
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Despite Russell’s recent paean to “slackerdom,” I have the sense that many of you who post and comment here care a great deal about your work, and that you enjoy it. If President Hinckley stood up at the next Priesthood Session and told you that you should all quit your jobs to stay home with your children, what would you do? How would you feel about it? (For the sake of simplifying the discussion, leave out for the moment the financial implications of such a course–I just want to know how you would feel about giving up your career... Read more »

Rescuing an Orphaned Thread (aka Lazy Blogging)

February 8, 2004 | 47 comments
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Last week Nate wondered about how to define “church doctrine.” Near the end of the comments thread, two people very articulately wondered about why we should bother doing so. (Here’s a link to the full discussion). Greenfrog asked: “At the risk of being perceived as a bone-headed realist, doesn’t that suggest that searching for some meaningfully mandatory set of doctrines is missing the point? If such a set of doctrines really isn’t an operationally determinate criterion, why should we conclude that it matters?” Joseph Spencer then usefully reminded us that the word “doctrine” simply means teaching, and posited that... Read more »

A topic for Sunday: Praise

February 7, 2004 | 9 comments
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A few weeks ago in our Sacrament Meeting, we sang 4 hymns composed by Eliza R. Snow, in honor of the 200th anniversary of her birth. One line from one of those hymns has been on my mind since then. It’s from this verse: He lives! He lives! We humbly now Around these sacred symbols bow, And seek as Saints of latter days To do His will and live His praise. Read more »