Blog Archives

John Adams and the Problem of Joseph Smith’s Legal Papers

June 10, 2005 | 7 comments

A few days ago, I had the rare experience of actually having enough time to sit in my study and read. Read more »

And now the news you have all been waiting for…

June 10, 2005 | 49 comments

It is time for another garden update. Read more »

From the Archives: How Joseph Smith Restored Greek Religion

June 7, 2005 | no comments

I’ve been thinking of late about immortality and Mormonism. My question is whether or not you can be a Good Mormon and a Good Homeric Hero. I am unclear on the answer, but Moroni and John Taylor seem to suggest that for at least one Good Mormon being a Homeric Hero was just fine. (more…) Read more »

Political versus Theological Friendships

May 31, 2005 | 36 comments

Are theological friendships possible between different religions? At times I am skeptical. Consider the always fascinating question of which Christian denomination likes Mormons the least? Read more »

Mormons and Markets, III: Strangers and Neighbors

May 26, 2005 | 8 comments

In my last post on this subject, I argued that one of things that markets do well is coordinate dispersed information. Another thing that markets do fairly well is facilitate cooperation among strangers. This is worth thinking about. Read more »

Against Fundamental Questions

May 24, 2005 | 78 comments

We tend to think that fundamental questions are important and therefore that they ought to take up much of our intellectual effort. This view may be mistaken. Consider, for example, Islamic law. Read more »

An Ethical Question from the Laws of War

May 20, 2005 | 95 comments

Are executions in the town square less moral than air bombing? Consider the following hypotheticals from the international law of war. Read more »


May 18, 2005 | 15 comments

An update on the Oman garden is in order. Read more »

Flags, Idols and Envy of the SPQR

May 18, 2005 | 44 comments

Of late, I have been reading about the Romans, a group of exceptionally creative — if frequently cruel — lawyers with a really good army. What is not to like? It has got me thinking a bit about patriotism. Read more »

Mormons and Markets, II: Information and the Failure of the United Order

May 16, 2005 | 32 comments

Throughout the 19th century, Mormons tried various different communal economic arrangements that basically didn’t work. Read more »

12(ish) Questions with Senator Robert F. Bennett

May 12, 2005 | 20 comments
12(ish) Questions with Senator Robert F. Bennett

A while ago, we announced that Senator Robert F. Bennet (R-Ut) had agreed to do 12 Questions with T&S. Senator Bennett has read all of the posted questions and offers his answers to the questions below. Read more »

Mormons and Markets, I: Property

May 12, 2005 | 25 comments

Embedded in the ten commandments are at least two injunctions having to do with property, which makes it one of the main subjects of the Decalogue and presumeably of central concern for the Gospel. Read more »


May 11, 2005 | 14 comments

This weekend marked a victory of sorts. Read more »

A Theorist Amongst the Stories

May 5, 2005 | 21 comments

I studied philosophy in college. I enjoyed law school. I work when I can as an appellate lawyer. I read few novels but a lot of philosophy and legal theory. I enjoy the clean, crisp flow of well-honed arguments and get a kind of goofy joy at watching the interplay of concepts and abstraction. By temperament, I am a theorist, but I, alas, live in world where as often as not stories hold sway. Read more »

A Happy Ending

May 3, 2005 | 46 comments

In most of the ways that matter, I grew up in a fairly typical Salt Lake City Mormon home. What this means is that I went through most of the various Mormon rites of passage right on schedule in an environment that looked very much like an photograph from the Ensign: baptism in the basement of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, priesthood ordinations by a faithful father surrounded by family, and all the rest. Coming home from my mission, however, was slightly different. Read more »

Against King Benjamin

April 28, 2005 | 98 comments

I am sorry to say that I think that King Benjamin’s great sermon has badly distorted the way that Latter-day Saints think about charity, the treatment of the poor, and the redistribution of wealth. Read more »

The Unfortunate Decline of Preaching

April 23, 2005 | 41 comments

Mathew Cowley, Hugh B. Brown, J. Golden Kimball. What these men had in common (other than the fact that I think they were all Democrats) is that they were great preachers. Preaching, however, seems to be a lost art of sorts in the Church. Indeed, there is so little real preaching that I suspect that most of the time we don’t even recognize its absence. Read more »

Blake Ostler: Guest-blogger

April 19, 2005 | 21 comments

Our latest guest blogger is Blake Ostler. Blake is a practicing attorney, having graduated from BYU and the U of U with a JD and a Master’s degree in philosophy. Blake, alas, has demonstrated almost no interest in writing about law and Mormonism. He has, however, been a prolific author on the philosophical basis of LDS theology. In addition to numerous articles in Dialogue, BYU Studies, Sunstone, the FARMS Review of Books and other fora, he has published the first volume of a proposed three volume philosophical study of Mormon theology, entitled Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God Read more »

A Tale of Two Revelations

April 18, 2005 | 46 comments

Those who imagine change in the Church are fond of hanging their hat on the principle of continuing revelation, arguing that it allows us a tremendous amount of flexibility to reformulate our doctrines and practices. This is, I think, far too simplistic, a fact that is illustrated by two of the most dramatic shifts in Church policy: the end of polygamy and the end of the priesthood ban. Read more »

Condescension and Exaltation

April 14, 2005 | 21 comments

For all of our insistence that we are Christians too, Mormons think about Jesus differently. I think that the two words that best capture this difference are condescension and exaltation. Read more »

God on Times & Seasons

April 13, 2005 | 24 comments

As I was reading the Doctrine & Covenants on my way into work the other day, I learned (not to my complete surprise, I will confess) that God has already condemned this blog. Read more »

The Blogging Advantages of Murmuring

April 12, 2005 | 23 comments

By and large, the bloggernacle is can be a pretty whiney, carping Read more »

Toxic Fumes and Memories of Mormon Art

March 30, 2005 | 46 comments

The summer after my mission I got a job restoring Mormon pine furniture. Over the course of its life, the furniture had been painted many, many times. My job was to painstakingly remove layers of later paint with an exacto knife and Q-tip swabs soaked in paint thinner while leaving the original layer of paint unharmed. It was very slow work — generally no more than a few square inches a day — and it involved breathing in a lot of toxic fumes. Read more »

Is God an Ethicist?

March 28, 2005 | 49 comments

The Mormon Spinozist has an interesting post lamenting (sort of) the lack of a clear doctrinal answer on the question of when life does or does not begin. What are we to make of the fact that we seem to have important questions about which the scriptures provide cryptic guidance at best? Here is my stab at a conclusion: Neither God nor his prophets seem to be ethicists. Read more »