Blog Archives

A Finite Population?

July 18, 2012 | 22 comments

So how many people do we think will exist in the whole of humanity throughout our history? Read more »

O Pioneer! Book Review of Villages on Wheels

July 11, 2012 | 4 comments

The 4th of July is a week of intense patriotic celebration in Provo.  Freedom Festival is the biggest party of the year here. People go all out with block parties, fireworks, parades, races, and art contests. We end the week exhausted. As a relative newcomer to Utah Valley, I’ve wondered why is Independence Day is such a big deal here. It turns out that Provo is simply upholding pioneer tradition: “Both Mormons and American travelers commemorated July 4th with elaborate patriotic observances. They generally stated at daybreak with gun and cannon salutes, and continued with cheers, speeches, toasts, feasts,... Read more »

The Threat of New Order Mormons

July 4, 2012 | 165 comments

I’ve been struggling to articulate to myself the difficulties that true blue Mormons have with new order Mormons. I’m not satisfied with what I’ve been able to come up with, and I hope you will be able to help me work through this. The struggles of Mormons going through a faith transition to become new order Mormons or ex-Mormons is well documented within the bloggernacle. Through online communities they are able to find support and understanding that they may even be afraid to ask for in their families and congregations. My concern in this post is the true blue... Read more »

Gendered Unity

June 27, 2012 | 27 comments

Every ward or branch I’ve lived as an adult has struggled with the dilemma of how to increase a sense of unity among the Relief Society sisters. In some places, demographics have dictated a natural split between the transient (a few months to a few years) young college and graduate age students, wives, and mothers and those who live in the ward on a more permanent basis: more established families, families with grown children, and retirees. We’ve also lived in a branch split by language differences in which about half of the members spoke English as a native language,... Read more »

Church Centers: Multi-use Buildings?

June 20, 2012 | 95 comments
Church Centers: Multi-use Buildings?

When we lived in La Jolla, the kids and I were members of the La Jolla YMCA. There was a child care center that would watch my little preschoolers for a couple of hours while I exercised and showered. I worked with a trainer and learned to use machines and free weights. I took aerobics, tai chi, yoga and pilates classes. My kids took swim, dance and gymnastics lessons. They went to preschool. I volunteered at the preschool, got trained and taught kids and adult yoga classes, and helped in the annual fundraising efforts that provided reduced membership and... Read more »

O My Father

June 17, 2012 | 3 comments

“My father, thou art the guide of my youth” (Jeremiah 3:4). We turn to him for guidance, for help and counsel as we age and learn our own fallibilities. It is Father’s Day. Today, we recognize the important role that men play in loving and caring for children. Too often, I get caught up on a few words in the Proclamation on the Family and the idea that “fathers are to preside over their families.” It sounds distancing to me; that the father is somehow uninvolved in the day to day work of family and home life; he is,... Read more »

In Memoriam

May 28, 2012 | 8 comments

I spend the morning with my children at the cemetery. The high school band played, the mayor placed a wreath at the war memorial, and servicemen, including a veteran of Pearl Harbor, spoke to us. We bought red paper poppies to pin to our shirts. We didn’t talk about Memorial Day in sacrament meeting yesterday. The only mention was that the scouts would be placing flags on lawns. It seems that we should want to remember and honor those who have fought and fallen in our worship services. How many times in the Book of Mormon are the people... Read more »

Post-structuralist Mormon?

May 22, 2012 | 12 comments

I played with deconstruction a little bit this semester. It probably wasn’t a good idea; I didn’t feel I had a firm grasp on Derrida; his ideas squirmed away from me like slippery little fish. But it seemed like so much fun, like such a powerful tool; how could I resist? It was like fire beckoning, or the primitive call to throw rocks off a cliff, or the closed box full of some unknown something. It was seductive to be sure; that didn’t stop it from being a bad idea. One paper I wrote shortly after attempting to read... Read more »

The Same 10 Families

May 4, 2012 | 90 comments

With the exception of student wards, every ward or branch I’ve attended seems to rely on a few families to fill all of the major callings. We’ll call them “the same ten families.” In our Long Island branch, there were about six families that carried the load. The branch president was married to the young women’s president. The young men’s president was married to the Relief Society president. The Elder’s quorum president was married to the primary president. We weren’t president level material there: my husband was a counselor in the young men’s presidency and the gospel doctrine teacher... Read more »


April 3, 2012 | 14 comments
Rock Canyon

We are now in Holy Week, and Lent is ending. I’ve been fasting. It’s nothing onerous; just giving up sweets and meats. I’m not a huge fan of penance and self-flagellation, but to be honest, I probably eat too much of both categories for both my conscience and my health. But even if a little guilt is in order, I don’t see any profit in wallowing or groveling. Lent is the perfect time to reset my habits. It is a well-defined period of fasting that, if not observed, is at least recognized throughout Christendom. And it is that very... Read more »

Snow, Citizens, and Stewards

January 26, 2012 | 8 comments

It has recently been announced that Steven E. Snow will replace Marlin K. Jensen as the new Church historian. Elder Jensen has been a wonderful historian for our church, bringing both compassion and honesty to the work.I expect this good work will continue under Elder Snow’s direction. I am curious to see what his areas of emphasis will be. I wonder if one of those areas might deal with the pioneers’ settling of West and environmental issues because in the past, Elder Snow has written on this particular stewardship topic.Elder Snow wrote an essay published in New Genesis entitled “Skipping... Read more »

Post Holiday Reflections

January 6, 2012 | 41 comments

I enjoyed the holidays this year, but I am glad they are over. The tree is no longer shedding needles in our living room, and the few lights and garlands we hung have been taken down. We celebrated a simple Christmas here, with very few decorations other than the nativities and the tree.  We exchanged few gifts. We are trying to teach our children to be thoughtful and discriminating in what they choose to give each other rather than buying every single thing they think (rightly) that their siblings would enjoy. I remember a Christmas ten years ago. We... Read more »

O Come, All Ye Faithful

December 25, 2011 | 5 comments

“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.” My eyes started welling up as we sang in church this morning. I want to answer the call to come, but I don’t know that I can call myself faithful. So often, I feel my lack of faith, my doubt, my cynicism. And I work all the harder for it. I cling to my covenants, for that is keeping the faith, even when I cannot rationally affirm articles or propositions expressing the faith of my fellow saints. I serve in good faith, with all my might, mind, and strength, even when... Read more »

If Jesus came for dinner…

November 26, 2011 | 39 comments

What would you serve the Savior if he came to your house for dinner? Would you give him beans and rice? Or would you buy a good steak and make a nice meal?” I sat there, thinking about this. My conclusion was that, yes, I actually would serve the Savior beans and rice if he came to my house. Especially if He came unannounced. Read more »


November 18, 2011 | 13 comments

This world is not conducive to contemplation, to meditation. We are encouraged to read the scriptures, fast, pray and meditate. But how do we meditate? There are some simple steps we can take on a regular basis to clear our minds. Some of these meditation techniques are borrowed from other traditions. Read more »

Thrift as a Principle of Stewardship

November 3, 2011 | 38 comments

In my post last month, I wrote about fundamental scripture based doctrine that lead us to value the earth. Now I would like to demonstrate that Mormons care for the earth through their stewardship, primarily in the management of our own homes and families. The first principle of stewardship is thrift. If we as a people live by the principle of thrift, we will as a natural result consume less and be in a position to serve more. Using our resources, financial and otherwise, wisely is the first step in becoming the stewards that God expects us to be.... Read more »

Chicken Little Eating Crickets: When a mindset turns a windfall into a catastrophe

October 26, 2011 | 20 comments

The panic prone little bird concluded the sky was falling, heralding the end of all creation when a nut fell from the tree above him, bonking him on the head. Something had indeed fallen, giving him a slight injury, but it was not the sky. It was actually lunch--vital sustenance handed to him, a grace independent of all merit on Chicken Little’s part. Read more »

The Hundred Dresses

October 21, 2011 | 15 comments

Not being able to apologize may be worse than admitting you are wrong. Read more »

Daily Bread

October 11, 2011 | 44 comments

“Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” This is the prayer in my heart, the words my mind speaks each time I cut a slice of bread. I don’t bake bread every day, but all of the bread my family eats, I have baked. This is cause for gratitude. I am able to make bread, good bread, to feed my family. I am home enough to wait through the rises. I am strong enough to knead the dough. I have a reliable oven in which to bake, sunny warm... Read more »

Mormons Do Care about the Earth

October 3, 2011 | 109 comments

Mormons do care about the earth. We care about preserving, protecting, and maintaining it. We care about the earth because 1) We love God, 2) We care about other people, and 3) We believe in the intrinsic value of the earth. Read more »

Charity Unbidden

September 28, 2011 | 23 comments

Saturday night, several talks of the General Relief Society Broadcast addressed charity. I was left with the general impression that we should want to cultivate feelings of charity towards others, and that as we desire to have charity, we will gain it. I carry a sketch book and pencils with me. An adult only church meeting like the Relief Society broadcast  is the perfect place for me to sit quietly and sketch portraits of the people around me. I like to study faces and postures, to see the effects of life written on the body. I like to look... Read more »

Consumerism vs. Stewardship

September 26, 2011 | 79 comments

The following is a modified excerpt from my presentation at Sunstone this summer. We live, not only in a capitalist, but a consumerist, society. Our society is all about spending, acquiring, cluttering, and replacing, not about maintaining, restoring, renewing, and protecting. It is cheaper to buy new than to repair old.  We live in a disposable country, where everything is trash, if not now, then soon. How did we get here? One of the best explanations I’ve found is in the work of the social theorist Max Weber (1). He examined the correlation between the Protestant religious belief and... Read more »


Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.