Spiraling Downward

April 14, 2004 | 31 comments
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Having ventured into the realm of high generalization about cultural systems, in my second entry I wish to raise my game to a still higher level. We have heard many warnings recently from Church leaders about American and world culture spiraling downwards. While this diagnosis can be debated (it is always the best of times and the worst of times), a pessimistic mood has prevailed at Church headquarters. Some relief was granted in this last conference when a few talks struck the theme of “Don’t Despair.” I believe there are grounds for adopting the pessimistic stand because morally and... Read more »

The Passion at week seven

April 14, 2004 | 24 comments
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The Passion of the Christ was released seven weeks ago today. In that time it has become: # 8 highest grossing movie of all time # 1 highest grossing February release of all time # 1 highest grossing non-English movie of all time # 1 highest grossing February weekend # 1 highest grossing R-rated movie of all time # 2 highest grossing 7th weekend By next week it will have overtaken Jurassic Park for the seventh spot on the all-time list. Read more »

The Real Issue

April 14, 2004 | 145 comments
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What follows is a post on homosexuality. I am deeply sorry about this, because by and large I think that this is a very stale topic. Accordingly, I hope that any discussion that follows this post will focus on the particular questions that I pose, rather than spinning off into another SSM free for all. Read more »

100 Celebrities Can’t Be Wrong

April 14, 2004 | 4 comments
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Apparently the huge DC rally for abortion isn’t materializing as planned. The major pro-abortion and feminist groups, plus the ACLU, have been preparing a huge demonstration in Washington to protest the Bush administration’s policies protecting fetal life. I signed up on their mailing list early on and have received impassioned letters pleading for money. One letter said they were organizing the largest march on Washington — ever. Apparently they thought the original title, “March for Choice,” wasn’t getting the emotional response they sought, so it’s now called the “March for Women’s Lives.” (No, not the lives of the 1800... Read more »

My letter to Meridian Magazine

April 14, 2004 | 28 comments
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I’ve been silently stewing for the past few days about Meridian Magazine’s endorsement of Holocaust denial. (I know, there are ways to read it that make it look marginally less ugly — it’s still problematic, I think). And then, today, a family member forwarded me a Meridian article (“look at this cool article!” — not the same one, I should add) and I finally flipped, and decided to act. I get a _lot_ of forwarded e-mail protest letters from friends and family. Protest this, protest that, write a senator, write CNN. I usually ignore them. But I’ve become quite... Read more »

Who is Julie?

April 13, 2004 | 5 comments
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Unlike some of our other bloggers, Julie has been remarkably prompt in providing the administrators of this site (also known from time to time as “The Quataverate” or sometimes simply as “The Big Four”) with biographical information and a picture. Hence, I am pleased to announce the the “Julie Smith” link on the side bar is fully operational. Have you ever longed for an answer to that all consuming question, “Who is Julie Smith?” Your long wait is over. Just click here. Read more »

Sinners, all

April 13, 2004 | 13 comments
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I have some strange childhood memories. One of the most vivid is my baptism day. October 31, 1981. Unfortunately, the memories of the baptism itself are somewhat hazy, but what I remember clearly is this feeling of being completely cheated by happenstance. I had an October birthday, and our stake did primary baptisms on the last Saturday of the month. In 1981 that meant I was getting baptized on Halloween, and there lay the problem. In my eight year old wisdom, I knew that I’d be pure and sin free upon getting baptized, but I thought that the chances... Read more »

Now We are Ten

April 13, 2004 | 11 comments
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We’re very happy to add another name to the list on the right of the page. Julie Smith, whose stint as a guest-blogger included terrific posts like The Talk I’ve Never Given and Why We Doze in Sunday School, has agreed to continue casting her pearls before, well, us. We hope that with two women speaking, Times and Seasons will seem more like General Conference. Welcome, Julie!! Read more »

William James’s Mormon correspondent

April 13, 2004 | 6 comments
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This is just a little historical thing that I have been curious about and I thought that the collective knowledge that gathers here could produce a definitive answer: Read more »

Purse and Scrip

April 13, 2004 | 20 comments
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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 »

More Capitalism

April 13, 2004 | 19 comments
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Rather than post a comment deep in Richard’s wonderful thread about capitalism, I thought I’d bring my thought to the front of the queue. The question of whether capitalism is compatible with the gospel was answered the moment Richard listed the fruits of capitalism: immense salaries, notoriety, perks, honor, authority, power, and influence. In other words, pride and the vain things of the world. Read more »

My Least Favorite Prooftext

April 13, 2004 | 38 comments
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Here it is: What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38) Read more »

Capitalism and the Gospel

April 12, 2004 | 112 comments
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Claudia enjoyed her two weeks of fame on the T&S blog, and I am looking forward to my time in the blogger’s chair. We have few enough venues for informal exploring and reflecting, and this seems to be one of the best. My initial question is: Are capitalism and the gospel at odds with one another? I am not thinking about greed and cruelty, the usual line of criticism against capitalism, and I am not suggesting socialism as a better course. My thoughts were spurred by the General Conference talk on “the heart of a mother.” As I listened... Read more »

Integration

April 12, 2004 | 38 comments
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On Kristine’s “testimony” thread, Nate’s post and Steve’s reply raised a question about the relation of one’s religion to one’s intellectual life. My question is related to Kristine’s question about how to bear testimony, but I think it is slightly different. I’d like to pursue it in a meandering way. Read more »

Thanks and Welcome

April 12, 2004 | 11 comments
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We want to thank Susan Staker, aka “Nate’s mom,” for her stint as a guest blogger. I’m not sure which took more courage, Nate asking his mother to blog or Susan agreeing to do so, but from my vantage point, I think the answer is “Susan agreeing.” Susan’s thoughtful and reflective posts have made the site itself more thoughtful and reflective. Without being confrontational, she’s asked questions that make us think. We also want to welcome a new guest blogger, Richard Bushman. If you don’t already know who Richard is, you should. Husband of Claudia Bushman (a former guest... Read more »

The Meadow on the Roof

April 11, 2004 | 4 comments
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I just returned from a quick trip to Salt Lake. My father was sealed to his wife in the Salt Lake Temple early Saturday morning and it was a beautiful occasion. I had an hour to spare after the celebratory breakfast, and Sister Hinckley’s funeral was nearly over, so I headed north to the Conference Center for a tour. The tour included the impressive 21,000 seat arena, Arnold Friberg’s original Book of Mormon paintings series, and several interesting examples of Mormon folk art. It was the roof, however, that I found most interesting. Read more »

Happy Easter!

April 11, 2004 | 3 comments
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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
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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 »

Getting to know them

April 10, 2004 | 2 comments
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Though Good Friday isn’t a BYU holiday, I’ve tried for a long time to avoid scheduling anything on Good Friday. This year, however, when making up the calendar, I didn’t pay enough attention. To encourage my students to work on their papers early and to talk to each other about them, I required my philosophy of religion seminar to take part in a mini-conference, and I scheduled it for today and tomorrow. Read more »

The Baptismal Service

April 9, 2004 | 6 comments
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My twins turned eight years old on Tuesday, and we baptized and confirmed them today. Good Friday seemed like an appropriate day for such a service. Having baptized each of my five children, I have baptized more people since my return from missionary service than I did in Austria. Way more. The water was chilly, and my sons didn’t bend their knees — even though we had practiced that in the living room — so their feet almost went out of the water. My sister, who is not a member of the Church, drove three hours to attend. She... Read more »

Reminder: 12 Questions for Armand Mauss

April 9, 2004 | one comment
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As I posted earlier in the week, Mormon sociologist extraordinaire Armand Mauss has graciously agreed to be interviewed by the T&S readership. For those that may not know his work, Mauss has studied and written extensively on issues such as the priesthood ban, the international growth of the Church and the challenges it poses, and Mormon assimilation and retrenchment in the 20th century. You can get the flavor of some of his interests and views here, here, and here. Please send any questions for Brother Mauss to greg@timesandseasons.org. The... Read more »

Waiting for the End

April 9, 2004 | 27 comments
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I heard Dallin Oaks’s conference talk last Saturday while waiting to take my husband’s parents to breakfast. I was interested in the way he talked about the second coming—what would you do if you knew Christ was returning tomorrow? I’ve been wondering since then how people in the church typically talk about the End now that we have lived beyond the end of the twentieth century. I still have a very vivid memory of a talk I heard in church when I was probably about ten (I grew up in a very small farming village in southeastern Idaho in... Read more »

Good Friday–Bitter Journey

April 9, 2004 | 2 comments
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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 »

Good Friday–George Herbert

April 9, 2004 | 5 comments
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O my chief good, How shall I measure out thy blood? How shall I count what thee befell, And each grief tell? Shall I thy woes Number according to thy foes? Or, since one star showed thy first breath, Shall all thy death? Read more »

Making Peace with Mother

April 9, 2004 | 6 comments
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Being identified as the mother of Nate for the past two weeks has set me thinking about mothers—having one, being one. My own mother died several years ago. I still work at making my peace with her. It’s not been easy to admit my likeness to her. Her circle for life seemed so tiny as I was growing up in a very small village in southeastern Idaho. Nate knew my Mom. She probably had better luck teaching him to do needle work than she did me. Recently I’ve been typing my Mom’s autobiography and her journals onto the computer,... Read more »

Choose Your Own Adventure

April 8, 2004 | 47 comments
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Recently I was waiting in line at a store, and noticed that the two couples behind me apparently knew each other from church. I was tempted to turn around and ask “Are you by chance Mormons?” (Because they were all blond, and between the two couples had a strangely large number of children….) I’m glad I didn’t, though, because it soon became clear that they weren’t LDS, and not having asked, I could eavesdrop. They were discussing some social upheaval at their church, leading to certain people joining their congregation, and others leaving. Apparently there is, to some extent,... Read more »

Bloggernacking again . . .

April 8, 2004 | 8 comments
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The bloggernacle is humming lately. Some highlights: Newcomer Celibate in the city is an entertaining blog dealing with “The Misadventures of Urban Dating for a Mormon Woman Outside of Utah” (It looks like she’s writing from New York). She’s funny and she kisses — single LDS fellows in New York might want to consider e-mailing her. At BCC, Aaron Brown has thoughts on an area of concern — the apparently widespread perception that any members’ intellectual concerns “aren’t really intellectual issues at all, but rather indications of sexual sin.” Aaron also has a funny and insightful post about how... Read more »

The “War on Porn”

April 8, 2004 | 146 comments
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A recent article about the Justice Department committing new resources to prosecute a “war on porn” has started lots of discussion in the blogosphere. (See here, here, here). Many people think that setting up an office with 32 prosecutors, plus assorted investigators and FBI agents, is a misguided use of resources, given current budget deficits and the ongiong war in Iraq. And this isn’t child porn we’re talking about — some of the targets of the new investigation include soft-core cable programs on HBO, and adult movies offered at hotels on pay-per-view. What should we think of this effort,... Read more »

The Quandry of the Sugar Beets

April 7, 2004 | 90 comments
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I think that I have finally isolated the great symbol of a recent set of intellectual and spiritual quandaries that I have found myself working through of late. I am not talking about polygamy, Adam-God, or blood atonement. I have in mind an even more challenging remnant of our past: sugar beets. Read more »

Post of the Month Winner for March

April 7, 2004 | 2 comments
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The secret panel has convened, the judges have decided, the votes are in, and the Post of the Month for March 2004 is Nate Oman, How Mormons Became White, which narrowly beat out Julie Smith’s Why We Doze in Sunday School for the most points. Overall, I think that the event was a great success. There were a number of excellent posts nominated, and the whole process got me (and hopefully many others) to read back over and examine some of the very interesting posts of the last month. I had a lot of fun. Congratulations again Nate (I’ll... Read more »