Blog Archives

The Epistemological Tensions of Mormonism

May 6, 2004 | 38 comments
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Now how is that for a pretentious blog-post title? What the am I talking about? In a nutshell, I am talking about the way in which Mormonism deals with how we gain knowledge and how that ability is socially situated. Here is my basic idea: Mormonism has a radically decentralized and democratic epistemology which is balanced by a highly centralized institutional structure. Read more »

This Must Be Good…

May 4, 2004 | 29 comments
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I just found a new blog entitled www.ilovethehonorcode.com (that is “I Love the Honor Code Dot Com”), by an aspiring stand-up comedian in Utah Valley. With a name like that, how can you not love it? (Link via Brayden King) Read more »

Moutain Meadows in the Supreme Court

May 3, 2004 | 2 comments
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De Toqueville once remarked on the strange habit that Americans had of eventually turning every great question of politics and policy into a lawsuit, and presenting the issue to the courts for resolution. As it turns out, the Mountain Meadows Massacre also eventually found its way into a lawsuit and in the fullness of time reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Read more »

A Contract Theodicy

April 30, 2004 | 40 comments
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A theodicy is a justification of the ways of God to man. Most frequently, the term is used in discussions of the problem of evil. Succinctly stated this problem goes like this: 1. God is all powerful 2. God is Good 3. Evil things happen 4. God can and should prevent these evil things (from 1 & 2) I don’t want to get into all of the intricacies of this debate. Generally speaking, Mormons “solve” the problem by in effect denying (1), claiming that there are metaphysical as opposed to merely logical limitations on God’s power. It strikes me,... Read more »

It’s Official: U. Goes Mormon

April 30, 2004 | 3 comments
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The Board of Regents of the University of Utah have selected Mormon law professor and dean Michael Young as the new President of the University. The Deseret News has a story here. (Link thanks to Jared Jensen.) The story says: He said he is a “committed, active member of the LDS Church” and doesn’t see that as a conflict in his new role. “It’s an important part of who I am and why I do what I do,” he said. “At the same time I have spent my entire academic career outside of Utah. It has never been a... Read more »

The Church as a Corporation: Part III

April 29, 2004 | 10 comments
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Here are a few more odds and ends about the Church as a corporation that I was able to find out. First, I wanted to correct two mistakes in my earlier posts. I recently found out that after Joseph Smith was murdered, it was not Brigham Young and the Twelve who succeeded to the office of trustee-in-trust. Rather, Bishop Newel K. Whitney was appointed, which means that he was the legal agent in charge of Church property during the City of Joseph period. Second, upon rereading the corporate charter granted to the Church by the State of Deseret, I... Read more »

Will the U. Go Mormon?

April 27, 2004 | 26 comments
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The University of Utah is currently in the midst of a search for a new president. They have narrowed it down to two potential candiates and one of them is . . . Michael Young. Young is a graduate of Harvard Law School, a former law professor at Columbia, and current dean at George Washington University Law School. He is also a BYU graduate, an active Mormon and a former stake president. Since BYU now has a former Ute as its president, will the U. return the favor by hiring a former cougar? Would both presidents be allowed to... Read more »

Progress…

April 26, 2004 | no comments
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----- Read more »

Theo-democracy and the Redemption of Politics

April 26, 2004 | 19 comments
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I am finding it difficult to get very excited about politics this election year. Given that we are faced with momentus issues of war and peace this is a bit odd. This seems like a time when politics really matters. Part of the problem is that I am considerably less than enthusiastic about either candidate. However, I find that I am increasingly less interested and passionate about politics. In college I played at being a political activist. I worked on campaigns, did voter registration drives, etc. (In retrospect I admit that my political involvement was largely about meeting girls.)... Read more »

A New Blog

April 21, 2004 | 7 comments
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I just came across a new site, The BYU Law Blog by a recent graduate from J. Reuben Clark Law School. The site is worth checking for the picture of conference protesters surrounded by counter-protesters. My favorite is the guy holding the sign reading “There is no Dana, only Zuul!” Ghostbusters, of course, is one of the great neo-liberal movies of all time! Entrepreneurs save the world, which is nearly destroyed by an officious and ignorant EPA regulator. Classic! Read more »

Ronald Reagan’s Unappreciated Gift to Mormon History

April 20, 2004 | 8 comments
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Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan has given a great boon to Mormon historians, one which they have yet to really appreciate. I am talking, of course, about the legions of conservative judges that Reagan appointed to the federal bench. Read more »

The Real Issue

April 14, 2004 | 145 comments
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What follows is a post on homosexuality. I am deeply sorry about this, because by and large I think that this is a very stale topic. Accordingly, I hope that any discussion that follows this post will focus on the particular questions that I pose, rather than spinning off into another SSM free for all. Read more »

Who is Julie?

April 13, 2004 | 5 comments
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Unlike some of our other bloggers, Julie has been remarkably prompt in providing the administrators of this site (also known from time to time as “The Quataverate” or sometimes simply as “The Big Four”) with biographical information and a picture. Hence, I am pleased to announce the the “Julie Smith” link on the side bar is fully operational. Have you ever longed for an answer to that all consuming question, “Who is Julie Smith?” Your long wait is over. Just click here. Read more »

The Quandry of the Sugar Beets

April 7, 2004 | 90 comments
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I think that I have finally isolated the great symbol of a recent set of intellectual and spiritual quandaries that I have found myself working through of late. I am not talking about polygamy, Adam-God, or blood atonement. I have in mind an even more challenging remnant of our past: sugar beets. Read more »

Best Conference Blogging

April 6, 2004 | 9 comments
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With all due respect to others who tried their hands at Conference blogging, I think that the best commentary award goes to a string of posts over at Dave’s Mormon Inquiry Blog (See posts here, here, and here). Read more »

Hello and Goodbye to Guest Bloggers: Julie Smith & Karen Hall

April 5, 2004 | 10 comments
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We would like to thank Julie Smith for a wonderful two weeks of guest blogging and we hope that she will continue to participate here in the comments. We also want to introduce our newest guest blogger, Karen Hall. Karen graduated from BYU where she studied Russian. She then went on to Harvard Law School. While there, she clawed her way to the top of the Latter-day Saint Student Association hierarchy, and ended her law school days as President of that illustrious organization. Needless to say, she ruled with an iron fist, and the LDSSA descended into chaos and... Read more »

The Church as a Corporation: Part III

April 5, 2004 | 3 comments
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This is Part III (see Part I and Part II) of my post on the legal history of the Church as a corporation. Read more »

A General Conference Thought

April 4, 2004 | 2 comments
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Conferences is over, and I have to say that I very much enjoyed it this year. Rather than blogging about this, however, I would like to simply post something that I wrote in my journal two years ago: Read more »

My Problem with “Liberal Mormons”

April 2, 2004 | 118 comments
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I am currently suffering from extreme sleep deprivation, which puts me in a caustic and curmudgeonly mood. This means, of course, that I shouldn’t blog. I am likely to say mean and indefensible things, like what follows. Read more »

The Church as a Corporation: Part II

April 2, 2004 | 18 comments
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What follows is a continuation of my earlier thoughts on church legal histroy (see Part I). Despite the absence of comments, I hope someone is reading this stuff. If not who cares. I have access to the Moveable Type software, therefore I get to post what I want to. Read more »

The Church as a Corporation: Part I

April 2, 2004 | 2 comments
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I have been doing a bunch of research of late on the history of corporate law. As I was doing so, I was struck by how much of early Mormon history could be illuminated by the evolution of corporate law. What follows in this and subsequent posts are essentially my research notes. We have enough lawyers and law geeks visiting this site, that I hope there will be at least some audience for this stuff. I even think that this stuff could be interesting to non-lawyers, and none of what follows is technical. Read more »

Do Dogs Go to Heaven?

April 1, 2004 | 29 comments
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We recently had to put our dog down. It has been a traumatic experience in our family and has given rise to the inevitable theological quandry: What is the precise spiritual status of animals? I have repeatedly heard people cite to Moses 3:7 — “all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word” — as a proof text for the claim that animals have souls (or at least dogs; I don’t think that anyone believes that cats have souls). However, if you look carefully at the scripture, it won’t really bear this... Read more »

Evil, Therapy, and Repentence

April 1, 2004 | 30 comments
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I have spent the last week or so working on a child sex abuse case at work. As a result, I have been reading a large number of judicial cases describing various forms of sexual abuse of children. Read more »

A Mormon Among the Yuppies

March 30, 2004 | 31 comments
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Confession time. I am a lawyer. It is now official. Last week the Board of Bar Examiners sent me my certificate stating that I am duly liscensed and qualified to practice as an attorney and counselor at law before the courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Yesterday, I recieved in the mail an offer from the D.C. office of an international law firm, which I will probably accept. What this means is that I am on the threshold of the land of the Yuppies. Read more »

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