Blog Archives

From the Archives: Mormon Cursing

April 8, 2006 | 20 comments

While reading Wilford Woodruff’s diaries recently, I discovered that I have been living in a cursed part of the country. What am I to make of this, and the more general phenomena of Mormon cursing? Read more »

Why My Mission was Hard

April 7, 2006 | 266 comments

I’ve heard lots of people discuss how their missions caused a spiritual crisis for them. So did mine. Read more »

Mordred had a point…

April 6, 2006 | 38 comments

Among Mormon History nerds, “Camelot” refers to the period of time in the 1970s and early 1980s when Leonard Arrington served as Church Historian. It is traditional to look back on it as a Golden Age that was tragically lost. Read more »

A Reinterpretation of Faith-Promoting History

April 5, 2006 | 64 comments

Mormons have an ingrained habit of interpreting their history in the rosiest of all possible terms, even when — as a historical matter — a less rosy interpretation makes more sense. Read more »


April 4, 2006 | 11 comments

In the past, I have suggested that the Mormon constitution is English, but of late I have wondered whether it might be Roman. Read more »

A Proconsular Apostle in Chile

April 3, 2006 | 44 comments

Peggy Fletcher Stack’s recent Salt Lake Tribune article on the Church in Chile is definitely worth a read. Read more »

A Preacher of Righteousness

March 29, 2006 | 21 comments
A Preacher of Righteousness

Elijah Abel is one of the more important figures in the history of Mormonism. Read more »

From the Archives: The Real Issue

March 28, 2006 | 148 comments

In light of the recent publicity surrouding the Buckley Jeppson case, I thought that some readers might be interested in this post from a couple of years ago. It goes, I think, to the question of the significance of the Canadian-sanctioned marriage of Jeppson and his partner. I am not offering this post as a theological gotcha to homosexual-rights activists. I am well-aware of the pain and difficulty caused by the current stance of the Church toward homosexuality. I would like to see a better resolution than the one that we currently have. However, it seems to me that... Read more »

Mormonism as a Strand of Western Thought

March 27, 2006 | 15 comments

When we are not in our “Mormons are not weird”-PR mode, Read more »

Mormon History and the Problem of Mermaids

March 21, 2006 | 47 comments

Mermaids illustrate the problems faced by non-Mormon readers of Mormon histories Read more »

Two Cheers for the Manuals!

March 16, 2006 | 98 comments

I have a confession. I am an Elders’ Quorum instructor and I like the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manuals. Really. Read more »

Ama-ar-gi and Mormonism

March 14, 2006 | 25 comments

“Ama-ar-gi,” a Sumerian word, has the distinction of being the oldest written instance of the concept of freedom or liberty, appearing on a clay tablet from about 2300 B.C. The word itself has something to say about the vexed question of the relationship between Mormonism and liberty or freedom. Read more »

Eddie Murphy on Richard Bushman

March 10, 2006 | 70 comments

There is a classic Saturday Night Live skit (from back when it was funny) that perfectly captures one of my nagging anxieties about being Mormon. Read more »

George Q. Cannon’s Equal Rights Amendment

March 9, 2006 | 6 comments

I have been doing a bit of research on the drafting of the Utah State Constitution, reading the proceedings of the constitutional convention held in 1894. The delegates seem to have spent most of their time discussing furniture, stationary, and who got to be appointed official stenographer for the convention. Every so often, however, they would pause to actually consider possible constitutional issues. Read more »

From the Archives: What is the Purpose of the BYU Dress and Grooming Code?

March 8, 2006 | 91 comments

BYU is often ridiculed for its dress and grooming code. The basic argument is that it is silly. Read more »

“But that’s just socially constructed…”

March 7, 2006 | 37 comments

One of the fun things about education is that you get all sorts of fun new toys, ideas that magically seem to cut through all sorts of Gordian knots and whose mere invocation has occult intellectual powers that liberate one from previous difficulties. Read more »

A Modest Bit of Navel Gazing…

March 6, 2006 | 23 comments

I try (or at least I think that I try) to avoid posting on the bloggernacle as bloggernancle. Read more »

Polygamy and Bastardy

March 3, 2006 | 16 comments

Polygamy created a bastardy problem for nineteenth-century Mormons. Read more »

Utah(ish) Non-Mormons

March 1, 2006 | 57 comments

Non-Utah Mormons like to complain about the supposed failing of Utah Mormons. Forgotten in this inevitable and highly stylized discussion, however, are the odd tics of Utah non-Mormons. I recently had a deja vu experience that reminded me of this strange breed. Read more »

Enlisting the Snarky Amongst Us

January 13, 2006 | 10 comments

Several years ago I ran a marathon. As anyone who has run a marathon can tell you, training for it is a lot of work. I tend to be a pretty undisciplined person, so when I started training for the marathon, I decided that I needed some sort of commitment device to keep me on schedule. My solution was to tell all of my friends and family that I was training for a marathon, indeed that I would be running a marathon in the fall. That way I got my sense of shame to discipline me. If I slacked... Read more »

A Modest Grand Narrative About the History of Hometeaching

January 10, 2006 | 20 comments

I think that it is fairly well established that Mormonism has deep roots in the religious history of Puritan New England. Of course, how one parses out the relationship between Mormonism and Puritanism is complicated, but I don’t think that there is much argument as to the fact of a relationship. Read more »

On the Uses of the Doctrine of Apostasy

January 6, 2006 | 59 comments

The doctrine of apostasy has come on hard times. Read more »

On being a bookkeeper in Zion

December 29, 2005 | 57 comments

As a young missionary, the Lord saw fit to inflict on me one the greatest trials that can afflict a Latter-day Saint: He forced me to become educated about Church financial controls and auditing procedures. Read more »

Why Jesus Will Not Save You: A Short Spiritual Autobiography

December 20, 2005 | 68 comments

When I look at my life and pick out its most significant spiritual events, one that stands out is a night when, unbidden and unexpected, God told me that he was angry because I was reading the New Testament. Read more »