Blog Archives

The Polygamists are Coming!

May 25, 2004 | 8 comments
By

A couple of months ago, I made reference to a fine and informative collection of articles in the Salt Lake Tribune, titled “Living the Principle: Polygamy on the Border”. Among the many fascinating tidbits included in those reports were descriptions of tensions and splits among the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. It appears that the current FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs, has become unpopular and tyrannical, and several polygamist families, led by those whom he’s excommunicated or simply by folks who want to get away from the man, are relocating. (I found to my surprise that one divided faction has put... Read more »

Do the Meetings Really Even Matter? (Thoughts on the Sacrament)

May 17, 2004 | 61 comments
By

I sense a common theme, or at least a common presumption, to recent posts by Julie and Kristine (which is not to reduce either of their posts to the point I’m making; there’s a lot more to both of them than this). Specifically, both seem to be concerned with, exasperated by, or otherwise focused on the “public” operations of the church: leadership, callings, classes, etc. You know, all the stuff which happens on Sunday: this lesson on Lamentations needs to get taught even though that baby over there is screaming his head off and no one can hear a... Read more »

My Most (Un)Original Sin

May 10, 2004 | 17 comments
By

This is quite long and confessional. Feel free to skip it, if you’re not in the mood for either. Read more »

My Daughter, the Universalist

May 10, 2004 | 39 comments
By

During sacrament meeting yesterday, I was reading to Caitlyn, our four-year-old, from New Testament Stories, an illustrated scripture-reader which the church first published over twenty years ago. She turned to the story of “The Ten Young Women,” and asked me to read it to her. Which I did: I read about the ten young women, waiting at the door with their lamps burning; I read about the bridegroom who would open the door, but no one knew when; I read about the five women who were wise, and had brought extra oil for their lamps, and the five women... Read more »

Why Didn’t God Answer My Prayer?

April 20, 2004 | 20 comments
By

It’s not a new question; indeed, it’s one of the oldest questions. And I have no fresh insight to bring to it either; it is a deep, profound, and serious matter of faith and theology, whereas my thinking at the moment is self-centered, mean, even a little angry. Still, tonight it’s my question nonetheless. Read more »

Conference talks online

April 16, 2004 | no comments
By

----- Read more »

Purse and Scrip

April 13, 2004 | 20 comments
By

The early apostles were commanded to go preach the gospel, carrying neither purse nor scrip. Early missionaries in the restored church were similarly commanded: And thou shalt take no purse nor scrip, neither staves, neither two coats, for the church shall give unto thee in the very hour what thou needest for food and for raiment, and for shoes and for money, and for scrip. Somewhere along the line, missionaries began taking purse and scrip. We now pay almost $400 a month to serve a mission. The missionaries in the field receive their stipend each month, and pay their... Read more »

Happy Easter!

April 11, 2004 | 3 comments
By

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! Read more »

Ground Rules for Comments

April 10, 2004 | 17 comments
By

Over the past few weeks, the comments in certain posts have started to follow a trend that I really dislike: One commenter or poster makes an argument, and then someone who disagrees with that position attacks the writer personally, rather than critiquing their argument. This has led to some argumentative threads full of name-calling and insults. That’s not what I’m trying to cultivate here — and frankly, it’s my blog (shared), so I can cultivate what I want to. I have put a lot of time and energy into this blog, and my co-bloggers have as well. None of... Read more »

Good Friday–Bitter Journey

April 9, 2004 | 2 comments
By

Many of you have seen this before; Beliefnet first made it available on their website back in 1999. But if you haven’t, take the time (even if you only have a dial-up connection) to load and watch this powerful multimedia feature, “Bitter Journey: The Way of the Cross”. Not only is it haunting, but it carefully distills Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant liturgies and referents to the Passion into a powerful, unified message: one of pain, and gratitude, and humility, and awe, at Christ’s death for our sake. Read more »

Church News: Passing of Sister Hinckley

April 7, 2004 | 13 comments
By

The church has issued a statement noting that Marjorie Pay Hinckley, the wife of President Gordon B. Hinckley, passed away yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. For a description of Sister Hinckley’s life, please see the church press release. Read more »

Reminder: Post of the Month Submissions

April 5, 2004 | no comments
By

----- Read more »

General Conference Predictions*

April 2, 2004 | 8 comments
By

Six months ago, just before the October 2003 General Conference, I e-mailed the following statement to several friends of mine: “I predict at least one complete sermon addressing nothing but the necessity of defending ‘traditional marriage,’ with possibly multiple others touching on such topics as ‘legalizing morality,’ treating people with same-sex attraction with sympathyand so forth. Furthermore, I’ll go out on a limb and make a further, more dubious, prediction: someone, or several someones, will either implicitly or explicitly link the final passage in the Proclamation on the Family (‘We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere... Read more »

Mormon Literature Won’t Be Left Behind Again!

April 1, 2004 | 11 comments
By

Once I brought up the issue of Mormon literature, asking for recommendations and opinions about fiction written by and for the LDS audience. (The thread rapidly turned into another throw-down about R-rated movies, but that’s neither here nor there.) I haven’t been able to do much fiction reading since then, but I still like to keep up on what’s available via the Deseret Book catalogue, as much as I gripe about it, if only to know what I’m missing. (Hey, Sam and Charly’s son is all grown up and serving a mission!) The latest catalogue made one thing pretty... Read more »

Some Callings are More Equal than Others

March 29, 2004 | 17 comments
By

We’ve talked before about callings and authority; I’d like to talk here about something closely associated with the previous discussion, but which also has a peculiar dynamic all its own: callings and skill. Read more »

Obligatory Semi-Weekly Times & Seasons Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage Post, #13 (Yes, I’ve Counted)

March 25, 2004 | 17 comments
By

Two BYU political science professors denounce the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. One BYU law professor defends it. Both are solid expressions of their respective points of view. Responding to them will, of course, turn this thread into a debate over the nature of marriage–but before that happens, I’d like to point out that marriage itself plays almost no role in their actual claims. Read more »

Today’s News

March 24, 2004 | no comments
By

----- Read more »

Notes from Zion

March 22, 2004 | 24 comments
By

I’ve just returned from a week-long stay in Utah, my longest visit to the Mormon Heimat in quite a while. My observations follow: Read more »

About the McKay Quote…

March 11, 2004 | 7 comments
By

As part of a different project, I found myself trying to track down the specifics of the famous quote: “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” It’s possibly the most oft-repeated General Authority statement is the contemporary church; certainly it would give even certain famous statements by Joseph Smith a run for their money. President David O. McKay made this statement, as far as I can tell, at least twice from the pulpit during general conference; once as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in April 1935, and once as president of the church... Read more »

What Do (and Should) We Call Our Brothers and Sisters?

March 11, 2004 | 20 comments
By

Last night, at our weekly elder’s quorum presidency meeting, I was struck once again at a verbal habit of our secretary: he refers to just about everyone in the ward as “Sister (or “Brother”) .” I’m “Brother Russell.” The elder’s quorum president is “Brother Craig.” The Relief Society president is “Sister Mel.” In 35 years of life in the church, I’ve never before met someone who regularly speaks this way to fellow ward members in casual conversation. I’m familiar with this locution primarily through its historical association with Brigham Young, particularly via the writings of Hugh Nibley... Read more »

Committees and Technology

March 9, 2004 | 11 comments
By

We’re all aware of church committee meetings, the bane of our existence. (The oft-recycled joke is that the “Fourteenth Article of Faith” goes something like “We believe in meetings, correlation, committees, sub-committees, . . .”). In a recent thread, Steve Evans comments: My suggestion: embrace technology — the e-committee is the future of the Church. Is the e-committee — having meetings through chat, e-mail or IM — a good idea? I can think of reasons that it might not work well –the digital divides between rich and poor and between young and old; lack of knowledge of computers; potential... Read more »

Lawyers on the Front Line

February 29, 2004 | 12 comments
By

Apparently, there was a globally broadcast pow-wow of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society yesterday, during which Elder Boyd K. Packer spoke, condemning the wickedness of the world, quoting Robert Bork on the usual subjects, and calling upon LDS lawyers to work to stem or slow the tide of evil all around us–not just for the sake of the church, but also on behalf of “ordinary people who need your professional protection.” Surely at least one or two of the dozens (hundreds?) of LDS lawyers who visit, comment or blog here heard Elder Packer’s remarks. Any comments? The Deseret... Read more »

Around the blogs

February 26, 2004 | 2 comments
By

I had to post an around-the-blogs when I read this post by Autumn about her mission papers. Key quote: “Autumn,” he said “You’re pretty attractive, you’re smart, you have a fun personality. Why don’t you just get married instead?” Yikes! In other blogs: Dave discusses Mormon Shakespeares again; Bob Caswell discusses priorities of church members; some Metaphysical Elders discuss the Mormon (reverse?) diaspora; and (not totally LDS related) Eric James Stone is now a professional author. Congratulations Eric! Read more »

Millet on “The Passion,” R-rated Movies, and Evangelicals

February 21, 2004 | 45 comments
By

Another one of those typical “what-do-the-Mormons-think?” articles this morning in the Deseret News, this one on “The Passion of the Christ” and the supposed challenge which its R-rating poses for members of the church. (I always love these articles by the way, because they differ not a whit in their form from the sort of articles we often had to write back at The Daily Universe: call up some random religion professor–it was usually a religion professor–and get them to talk on the record about what everybody had already beaten to death in elder’s quorum the week before. The... Read more »