Blog Archives

Martha’s Sacrament

April 10, 2014 | 12 comments
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Times & Seasons used to post, from time to time, something “From the archives”. So is this one. *** Martha was one of the older sisters in our branch. We counted a scant dozen of them, singles and widows, making more than half of the congregation and being its very backbone. When I got to know her, Martha was in her sixties. Huge by nature and strong from her lifelong labors as a market woman, she lived in a modest but sunny apartment, four flights high. Rent and utilities took most of her tiny pension, but she managed. Every... Read more »

Utah same-sex marriage and the international church

January 29, 2014 | 42 comments
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Utah same-sex marriage and the international church

Media around the world have been reporting the developments in Utah in relation to same-sex marriage. Nearly always the articles and broadcasts also mention the Mormon Church as the conservative force that tries to prevent same-sex marriage. What could be the effect of such reporting on the image of the Mormon Church worldwide? As far as can be known, what do church members around the world think about same-sex marriage? How will the Church deal with same-sex couples who are legally married in a growing number of countries? This (long) post tries to suggest answers to these three questions. But first,... Read more »

International Day of the Girl

October 11, 2013 | 8 comments
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International Day of the Girl

Today is the International Day of the Girl.  Yesterday, the Deseret News devoted an article to it but 24 hours later, no one had yet commented. Another article appeared today, but as of now, no comments yet. Perhaps there is no need to voice support for something everyone agrees on? Still, worldwide, tens of thousands of children have been conducting activities to support education for girls, following the lead of Malala Yousafzai. Anything to report from Utah? Other themes of the Day deal with forced girl marriages and teen pregnancies due to poverty and lack of sexual education.  In my home... Read more »

Welcome to Walter van Beek

June 11, 2013 | 8 comments
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Welcome to Walter van Beek

Times and Seasons is happy to announce that Walter E.A. van Beek accepted to join the team of permabloggers. Walter van Beek (his Dutch first name is Wouter, but in international scenes he uses the anglicized version Walter) received his PhD in cultural anthropology in 1978 at Utrecht University (Netherlands), based upon a long field study among the Kapsiki/Higi of North Cameroon and North-eastern Nigeria. Read more »

The Mormon moment abroad: thank you, Jim Dabakis.

December 13, 2012 | 40 comments
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The Mormon moment abroad: thank you, Jim Dabakis.

Michael Otterson advised the press: to understand Mormonism, go to the source and allow Mormons to define themselves. But what if these Mormons are survivalist Joel Skousen, Tea Party painter Jon McNaughton, or Tammy, an anti-government gun-toting rodeo queen from Overton, Nevada? All three were lengthily interviewed on French national radio. Read more »

The blood of Israel in Europe

September 25, 2012 | 46 comments
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The blood of Israel in Europe

At a multi-stake conference in Berlin in 2010, Area President Erich W. Kopischke quoted Joseph Smith as having declared that “England, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium have a considerable amount of the blood of Israel among the people which must be gathered out.” Read more »

Primitive church

September 20, 2012 | 17 comments
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Times & Seasons used to post, from time to time, something “From the archives”. I revisited a post I published eight years ago, updated a few items, and thought it would still be worthwhile to read. My question to you: what are your memories of the “Primitive church”, if you ever had the privilege of experiencing it? Read more »

Informing members timely – a PA function?

September 13, 2012 | 32 comments
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Last week a Belgian church member, with a long record of outstanding leadership service in the Church, put a link on his Facebook page. The link went to an article in a local newspaper, titled “Homosexuality kills more than smoking” (translated), reporting on the recent anti-gay outburst of Jim Wallace, head of the Australian Christian Lobby. With a short note next to the link, our Belgian brother indicated his approval of Wallace’s views. His Facebook has numerous church members and outsiders as friends. Read more »

Eugene

September 6, 2012 | 41 comments
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Eugene came from the Congo and accepted the gospel while studying in Belgium. After having obtained a doctorate in economics of developing nations, he returned to Africa. During the years with us, Eugene fulfilled many callings, willingly responding to the recurrent changes in positions our branch and district demanded in the relentless cycle of convert baptisms and inactivation. Read more »

Do not convert exchange students

August 30, 2012 | 62 comments
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When I was counselor in the Belgium-Netherlands mission presidency, the mission president asked me one day to handle the following. He had received a letter from a Utah family informing him that they had hosted a Belgian student as part of a high school exchange program. The family was “super excited” to tell the mission president that they had succeeded in converting the girl to the church. She had been baptized! Read more »

EFY, hair, and culture

July 2, 2012 | 70 comments
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EFY, hair, and culture

The bishop told Amadou he would not be allowed to attend EFY unless the braids were cut.  Amadou comes from Mali. His family settled here a few years ago and became members of the Church. Read more »

Sacrifice and retention: An unsolvable dilemma?

May 1, 2012 | 67 comments
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In Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith taught that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation” (Lecture 6, verse 7). The Church’s dramatic history demonstrates that this call to sacrifice was not mere rhetoric. Extolling the endurance of the pioneers is part of Mormon tradition. In talks and lessons members are repeatedly reminded of commandments and duties. Read more »

Mission reunions

March 16, 2012 | 20 comments
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He is French and served his mission in Spain: “I wish I could attend the reunion in Salt Lake,” he said. At Conference time, nearly all mission reunions are planned in Utah. The tradition dates back to the time when also nearly all missionaries came from Utah or surrounding States. But things have changed. Read more »

The temple in France – Some thoughts

February 10, 2012 | 68 comments
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There is some ongoing turmoil about the planned temple near Paris. At the present (pretty secure) stage of development, it seems much ado about nothing, but it makes headlines. Read more »

Mormons without the Mormon Church

October 5, 2011 | 67 comments
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In his recent conference address, Elder Ballard emphasized that we must avoid the name “Mormon Church” and instead use as much as possible the official, full name of the Church. His message stems from two concerns: (1) the missing association with the name “Jesus Christ”, hence no immediate recognition of the Church as Christian. (2) the potential confusion with other groups, in particular polygamist groups, that are referred to as “Mormon.” Read more »

Thou-thee-thy from other angles

May 21, 2009 | 73 comments
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In General Conference of April 2009, Elder Russell M. Nelson reminded us: Read more »

Catholic parish registers belong to humanity

May 4, 2008 | 112 comments
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According to various news outlets the Catholic Church has ordered its dioceses to not allow Mormons access to parish registers any more. For decades, our Church has copied and preserved millions of pages of parish registers around the world, as part of the injunction to seek out ancestors and perform ordinances in their behalf. There are probably still millions of pages out there, uncopied. Read more »

Gospel culture and the others

May 1, 2008 | 19 comments
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How do ‘we’ as Mormons learn to view ‘others’? We can try to answer this question from the angle of various approaches to the concept of “gospel culture”. Read more »

Mormon identity and culture

March 25, 2008 | 68 comments
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The following is part of a larger study on the concept of “gospel culture”, which I have been working on. In a previous post I presented the question “How American is the Church?”, which yielded very interesting comments. For the present post I excerpted some further parts on culture and Mormon identity, with various questions to the reader. Read more »

How American is the Church?

February 15, 2008 | 76 comments
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(The following is an excerpt from a larger study on the concept of “gospel culture”, which I have been working on. I hope that comments will help me correct and refine this aspect on Americanness). For the past few decades, in their efforts at internationalization, church leaders have stressed that this is “not an American Church”, but an international, universal Church. Read more »

Iza

December 15, 2007 | 27 comments
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The mission president called. Would I, as his counselor, conduct a baptismal interview? A case he wouldn’t have the zone leaders handle, a woman with a troubled past. Most likely involving a chastity issue. Read more »

Watching conference

November 28, 2007 | 34 comments
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Stake conference in the mission field. Still the mission field, for although we are a stake, there is no stake center, only a chapel in some of the main cities, and rented rowhouses elsewhere. The stake covers some 10,000 square miles. Therefore we gather in this huge, sparsely lit movie theatre—theatre number 14 in a massive cinema complex close to the highway. Read more »

Little street vendor

September 17, 2007 | 46 comments
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She is a little street vendor who put up shop next to the entrance of the church with the long name. Read more »

Mamadou

July 12, 2007 | 33 comments
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Mamadou has AIDS. Read more »

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