Blog Archives

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 »

Macrocosm and Microcosm

March 24, 2005 | 44 comments

Every so often, I have one of those horrifying little experiences that leads me to question my firmly held belief that most of Freud’s thought is utter nonsense. Read more »

“Sir, I have come to ask for your daughter’s hand. Nice pajamas.”

March 24, 2005 | 55 comments

Julie’s post on courting brings up an interesting question that I have, thankfully, only struggled with once: Should you ask a father’s “permission” prior to proposing marriage to his daughter? Read more »

Of Fathers, Compost, and the Resurrection

March 23, 2005 | 32 comments

Thanks to a pile of rotting garbage, I was truly happy and contented for the first time in quite a while this weekend. Read more »

What Does God Smell Like?

March 15, 2005 | 41 comments

I like smells. I sniff my wife when she is not looking. (It really annoys her.) I came home from work late tonight and went in to look at my sleeping son. I bent down and kissed his brow and drank in the wonderful smell of a clean and sleeping little boy. For me smell is the most powerful trigger of memory. In short, I think that our noses are under appreciated organs and that smell is a big deal. So what does God smell like? Read more »

A Very Cool New Blog

March 15, 2005 | 125 comments

Those wacky Mormons at Harvard Law School (and some that used to be) have started a new blog Harv. L. Saints (for those who missed the geeky law joke in the title, Harv. L. Rev. is the traditional abbreviation of the Harvard Law Review, the greatest law journal of all time, since followed by many knock-offs). The introductory posts include an attack on big firm practice by a defensive Mormon liberal (HLS abounds with defensive Mormon liberals. It is one of the things that I miss. They are so dang cute!) and an analysis of Intellectual Irreverence. Read more »