Blog Archives

Why I’m glad Heavenly Mother is as yet uncorrelated

May 15, 2013 | 51 comments
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There is something creative about getting to know God: to recognize the infinite attributes of God and to express that ineffability in testimony and story, art and song. Sometimes, one person’s vision of God becomes codified, set in stone as the truth for all people. It may be a beautiful, profound view of God, one that answers the yearning of the time. But God is greater than even the most perceptive one’s capacity to behold, much less fully communicate. Man’s best description of God is still a description of man, not of God. And so I am glad that... Read more »

Stewards of Prudence and Altruism

May 8, 2013 | 4 comments
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Prudence and altruism combined allow us to delay personal gratification or even make sacrifices for the benefit of future people who have not yet been born. The hearts of the fathers must turn to their children Read more »

Reproaching Jesus

March 26, 2013 | 9 comments
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It was the women who loved him who were willing to reproach him. First it was his mother: “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (Luke 2:48-54). She did not understand his actions, this little twelve-year old son of hers. And he didn’t seem to understand her distress. Was he preoccupied in his work, his private calling? Was he unaware of how his actions would make her feel, as emotionally obtuse as only a confident child can be? There was no apology, but his words certainly gave his mother... Read more »

The shoe’s on the other foot

March 13, 2013 | 36 comments
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I wish that we, Mormons, especially those raised in the church, would assume that we know as little about other religions as we complain they know about us. Read more »

Forced Testimony

March 6, 2013 | 52 comments
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And so we have a tension: the imperative to share our testimony, and by so testifying to reinforce and strengthen it, opposed to the need to keep our most sacred knowledge untarnished and protected from the cheapness of overexposure. Read more »

Giving Away Sins

February 26, 2013 | 10 comments
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Even knowing how much happier I am when I choose to give away a small sin or vice, I still hold so many of them close to me. Read more »

Lenten Mormon

February 20, 2013 | 26 comments
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I’ve been observing Lent for a few years now. And every year I run into consternation from other latter day Saints. Every year I’m told “Mormons don’t observe Lent.”Last year I reflected on this at the end of Lent. I fast as a Mormon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take advantage of the period of Lent. I pray as a Mormon, do the scripture reading and contemplative thinking that we class as meditation, but I also practice yoga for its meditative and mind-clearing effects as well as the physical benefits. I actively seek out good faith practices developed... Read more »

Fragile Sundays

February 11, 2013 | 27 comments
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It was one of those fragile, vulnerable Sundays again. I’m like that sometimes, going through church shaking like a leaf, on the edge of my composure. It’s a kind of weakness, to always be close to tears, like to be overcome at any moment. I’m not sure why some Sundays hit me that way. Perhaps I haven’t eaten enough. Or I may be experiencing some hormonal fluctuation. Or perhaps the expectation of the day is too much for me. I need to go, to work, to be spiritually uplifted, to edify others. I need to do my paperwork, contribute... Read more »

BSA: Morally Straight

February 6, 2013 | 105 comments
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The decision may come today. Will the Boy Scouts of America allow gay leaders and youth to participate in their program? I have gay relatives, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. Some of them are great. Some I love. Some I’d rather not spend much time with because I find them annoying. After all, they are real people, just like my hetero relatives, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, some of whom are great, loveable and/or annoying. Although not a scout as a child, I am part of BSA now. I even have a uniform to wear. And I desperately want to share... Read more »

My missionary moment

February 5, 2013 | 7 comments
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Our stake president has challenged all members of our stake to have a “missionary moment” this year. I never served a mission and I don’t like doing overtly missionary-type activities. But his challenge did bring to mind one of the most important missionary experiences I have ever had. It was more than a decade ago. I was a young housewife living in one of the graduate and family student housing complexes at UCSD while my husband was doing his graduate work. I had a toddler and I was expecting our second baby. One day a couple of strangers knocked... Read more »

Tracy McKay fMh Scholarship

February 2, 2013 | no comments
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Our sisters and brothers in the bloggernacle have turned their virtual relationship into doing tangible good for those in need. Yesterday, Lisa at fMH announced the Tracy McKay fMh Scholarship. I remember last year when Tracy’s ward financial assistance was cut and the immediate action by her fellow bloggers to raise enough money to get her through her last semester. fMh is working on an endowment to make the scholarship permanent and contributions tax-deductible. (Last year, we just gave money because it was needed, it was the right thing to do, and that mattered more than a tax deduction.)... Read more »

How a concussion made me think of Stephenie Meyer and Francis Hutcheson

January 30, 2013 | 10 comments
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Last semester, my first semester studying Greek, I sustained a mild concussion. I have mostly recovered now. I still have problems with bright lights that makes nighttime driving intolerable, but for the most part, I’m functioning normally. But for a few weeks there, I couldn’t think straight. It hurt to concentrate. Reading even a light novel was difficult, and translating Greek was nigh impossible. Just looking at Greek letters caused me pain. But my handwriting was spectacular. Any notes I took about lectures I attended during that time are the most clearly written, beautifully precise notes I have ever... Read more »

Resolved:

December 31, 2012 | 2 comments
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I generally hate New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because experience has taught me that I will fail to carry through. I don’t like failing. It seems that we usually pick for resolutions something about which we are conflicted. The resolution may be about losing weight, which is the conflict of habit and genetics against a health or aesthetic ideal. Or it may be about exercising, or getting enough sleep, or devoting time for personal scripture study and meditation, or it may be about losing weight. Most Mormons are able to avoid the common resolutions about drinking and smoking less, but... Read more »

A Prayer of Sorrow and Hope

December 16, 2012 | 7 comments
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On this day, on every day, let us mourn with those who mourn. For our hearts are broken, and all the sorrow and pain and suffering of the world has fallen in the shattered shells of ourselves. Let us take us these fragile broken pieces and lay them on Thine altar. Let us make our broken hearts an offering unto Thee. O, God, we hurt. O God, let us find some comfort, some peace, in doing Thy work, in mourning with those who mourn, and comforting those who stand in need of comfort. Lord, forgive us our sins, on... Read more »

School Prayer

December 5, 2012 | 33 comments
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I’m not a fan of public prayers in public places other than churches. It makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Some of this may be my contrarian reaction to prayers in classes at BYU and to the often earnest but uncomfortable prayers offered up before dramatic performances. I don’t suppose visiting theatrical companies mind much; it goes with the venue. But I feel for the students who pray these prayers, whether they are a jumble of stock phrases or an earnest, but incoherent mush of sentiments that are slightly inappropriate for the situation at hand. As an adult,... Read more »

Every Sunday

November 14, 2012 | 30 comments
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Our Sunday of recovery from food poisoning was delightful because it was a one time surprise. But missing a couple of Sundays with our new ward family only made me feel less inclined to get back in the saddle. Read more »

Still Outside

November 7, 2012 | 60 comments
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As a Mormon, I’m saddened that Mitt Romney lost his bid for the presidency. He tried so hard, for so long, but just couldn’t quite pull it off. I have many friends, neighbors and relatives who have fasted and prayed for Romney, and I am sure they are hurt and disappointed. We don’t have a Mormon president now. But I honestly think that’s just as well. Part of our cultural narrative is that we are outsiders. We converted to the truth and were rejected by everyone else less spiritually enlightened. We were driven out of the United States and... Read more »

Halloween!

October 31, 2012 | 12 comments
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I really enjoy Halloween. I’ve always liked dressing up and making costumes. Over the years, I’ve learned that the trick to costumes is not complete accuracy, but suggestion. Like a good suspense movie, an audience needs only to be directed. Then they create the full costume in their minds. So my pioneer costume, which I only wear in July, is a regular dress, late 90s cut, but paired with a bonnet and apron that I whipped up out of scrap fabric and a shawl, and it is surprisingly convincing. Pumpkin carving, too, is another ‘less is more’ type of... Read more »

Performative Religion

October 26, 2012 | 15 comments
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To throw another idea in the faith vs. works debate: “Faith is not equivalent to belief or certainty. Faith has more to do with commitment. Faith is fidelity.” Times and Seasons is a place that respects the faith of Latter-day Saints. As someone who often struggles with the faith of belief, I cling to the faith of fidelity. I want to keep the faith in this church that I love. Some things I don’t know, and some I only hope to believe, but I am committed by covenant and the strength of my faith to act as though the... Read more »

Book of Mormon Comics

October 24, 2012 | 12 comments
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I love stories. A narrative strikes me as the most fundamental way of ideas with other people. And by ideas, I mean not only the bare events of the narrative, but also abstract concepts, morals, and emotional truths. It makes sense to me that our basic scriptural texts have strong narratives. The Old Testament is a collection of stories, with the consequences of one generation’s choices setting the stage for the actions of the next. The Book of Mormon also has very strong narratives. Other classic stories that we are familiar with, we feel free to reimagine. We update... Read more »

If she wants to…

October 17, 2012 | 38 comments
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Women can go on missions, if they want to.  Now that they can go at 19, some will go who may not have wanted it quite enough to wait until they turned 21. But it is still not the same as for men, who have a clear expectation and strong social pressure to serve missions sometime after they turn 18. Girls in the church hit this idea, “they can do it if they want to” quite often. Starting at age 8, when American boys enter the officially sanctioned Church version of Cub Scouts, the segregation begins. The boys meet... Read more »

Forget Caffeine: Where’s the Ironport?

October 3, 2012 | 16 comments
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The recent hubbub on BYU’s campus about the selling of caffeinated drinks misses the mark. Sure, there is some demand for caffeine; this is a college campus. It’s not about the flavor. It’s about sleeping too little and needing a boost to remain conscious through early morning or afternoon classes. (Is there any class harder to stay awake through than the one after lunch when they turn down the lights and start showing slides?) Or it’s about living up to your personal standards, which may or may not align with those of other Honor Code compliant students, faculty, and... Read more »

Caught

September 26, 2012 | 30 comments
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I’ve been reading news stories about people dealing with addiction and depression, people who have committed secret transgressions that finally broke out of their control and caused public ruin and shame for the sufferers and their families. There is so much pain and heartbreak, both for those innocents who must bear the consequences and for the troubled secret-keeper. Which is worse? To learn that the one you love has kept their struggle and pain secret from you, or to be the one striving, but failing, to make it right so you don’t hurt those you love? One of the... Read more »

Prudence, Altruism, and Curses

September 12, 2012 | 11 comments
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Prudence requires that we recognize the reality of times other than the present, specifically, future times. Altruism requires that we recognize the reality of people other than ourselves. Prudence allows us to delay gratification for our own future benefit. We budget, we plan ahead, we save for a rainy day. Altruism allows us to do things unselfishly, for the good of others. If you accept Thomas Nagel’s structuralist case for altruism, you recognize that there is rational justification for doing good for others that is not dependent on ulterior motives. We are able to help others, even if it doesn’t... Read more »