Blog Archives

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 »

How do we say goodbye?

September 5, 2012 | 47 comments
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How do we say goodbye to those who choose to leave the Church? We who stay are torn, pulled on the one hand by our faith and hope for salvation, ours and theirs, and on the other hand by respect for their agency and personal revelation. Do we feel better about people who make a clean break and have their names removed from the rolls of the Church or do we worry that they have renounced saving ordinances? Do we compare them favorably or unfavorably to those who take a more passive aggressive approach, the ones who drop out... Read more »

Object Lessons!

August 29, 2012 | 30 comments
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I am pretty much exhausted by the discussion of modesty and chastity in both LDS and feminist circles. This is unfortunate timing because my daughter has not yet started in Young Women’s, so I know we’ll be subjected to several more years of these lessons in the near future. Instead of dreading these earnest discussions with their carefully planned object lessons, I’ve decided to prepare for them. I don’t want my daughter to be discouraged and shamed because as normal teenager she feels she is not as perfect as a fresh rosebud or as chocolately as a warm brownie... Read more »

Not a Legitimate Rape

August 23, 2012 | 59 comments
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I’ve been listening to the radio this morning about the Republican Party platform and abortion and rape. I’ve never had an abortion; thankfully I’ve never been in a situation where that seemed like a viable option. I am thankful that the Church handbook allows for abortion, but even there the wording is “forcible rape or incest” . And apparently Representative and would-be Senator Akin meant to say “forcible rape” rather than the terribly unfortunate “legitimate rape.” But what does “forcible” mean in terms of rape? That a woman or girl is held down and raped against her vain... Read more »

The Rifts of Rime

August 15, 2012 | 3 comments
By
ref=sib_dp_pt

Finally, a book by Steve Peck that I can read with my children! At first my husband thought that would be A Short Stay in Hell; it is only 70 pages, but I had to disabuse him of that notion. As much as children enjoy thinking about infinity (How can anything go on forever? But if there is a limit, what is on the other side?), I thought the main character was brutally murdered far too many times to be appropriate bedtime reading material for small children. And I would like to save that little volume for them to... Read more »

Changes

August 8, 2012 | 53 comments
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We talk about our Heavenly Father loving us, and our leaders say they love us, but sometimes it feels like they mean “us” in general, and not “me” in particular. We are told that almost any righteous man and woman can have a successful marriage if they are both committed, if both of them have enough faith to do everything right. The particulars of the individuals, the quirks and preferences that make up our personalities, don’t much matter. And many couples in contented arranged marriages can testify to the viability of this idea. In the same way, any... Read more »

Dam Comments

August 1, 2012 | 34 comments
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Dam Comments

Too much attention to those awkward stones just adds to them and makes a dam, and I seriously don’t want to have to bring out the dynamite and blow it away. Read more »

A Song of Embodiment

July 25, 2012 | 30 comments
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Anything I’m able to think is because of everything I feel. And everything I feel is this wonderful embodiment, this solid physicality. Everything begins as physical sensations that are then co-opted, abstracted, and re-appropriated by the mind. Love in the abstract began as a warm feeling of security and comfort and a belly full of milk. It grows into trust and affection. From our instinctive feelings of approval and disapprobation we develop judgment, ethics, and morality. Everything we call virtuous began with some action that met our approval, that felt good, was beautiful or useful to ourselves or others... Read more »

A Finite Population?

July 18, 2012 | 22 comments
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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
By
Kimball__Villages

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
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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
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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
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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
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“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
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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
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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
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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 »

Lent

April 3, 2012 | 14 comments
By
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
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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
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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
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“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
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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 »

Meditation

November 18, 2011 | 13 comments
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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 »