12 Questions for Armand Mauss, part one

April 26, 2004 | 38 comments
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We are pleased to present our first installment of “12 Questions,” with sociologist and Mormon Studies scholar extraordinaire Armand Mauss (here is a mini-bio). Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. As you will see, they generated a wide-ranging and thoughtful set of responses. Questions appear below in bold, and Brother Mauss’s responses follow in plain text. 1. You have spent your academic career largely outside of church-affiliated schools. As a Mormon studies scholar, what are the advantages and disadvantages taking this route from your perspective? How does it inform and/or impede your work... Read more »

Anyone interested in capitalism . . .

April 26, 2004 | no comments
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Theo-democracy and the Redemption of Politics

April 26, 2004 | 19 comments
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I am finding it difficult to get very excited about politics this election year. Given that we are faced with momentus issues of war and peace this is a bit odd. This seems like a time when politics really matters. Part of the problem is that I am considerably less than enthusiastic about either candidate. However, I find that I am increasingly less interested and passionate about politics. In college I played at being a political activist. I worked on campaigns, did voter registration drives, etc. (In retrospect I admit that my political involvement was largely about meeting girls.)... Read more »

Thanks, Richard and Welcome, Ben!

April 26, 2004 | 4 comments
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Alas, today we bid farewell to guest blogger Richard Bushman, whose first entry broke records for the rate of immediate commenting (I’m guessing–not even Kaimi is nerdy enough to keep those statistics!), and whose last flurry of posts should keep us in interesting topics for a month or two! Thank you very much, Richard, for asking such good questions and helping us think about interesting things in new ways. Fortunately, we will not lack for good new discussions–Steve Evans continues his stint for another week, and today we welcome another guest, Ben Huff. Ben’s animal magnetism has been discussed... Read more »

Aaron Brown’s Catholic Experience

April 26, 2004 | 11 comments
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Apparently, longtime T & S commenter and BCC contributor Aaron Brown has been doing something most members would never imagine — he’s been officiating (along with some LDS missionaries) at a Catholic Mass! He writes about this experience in his latest BCC post. An excerpt: About a year ago, Father Hans approached me with an unusual request. Convinced that LDS missionaries are ‘angels,’ and that they obviously love and follow Christ more than anyone in his congregation could ever hope to, Hans wanted to organize a Catholic-Mormon ‘hybrid’ Mass. He proposed that my four full-time missionaries and I (the... Read more »

Sister Benson

April 25, 2004 | 4 comments
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I’m reading President Benson’s biography. You probably already know that he grew up, the oldest of eleven children, on a sugar beet farm in Idaho. At one point, when his mother was expecting her eighth child, his father was called on a mission. Read more »

Higher Powers

April 25, 2004 | 2 comments
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This morning as we were leaving for church, I ran over my daughter’s scooter, which she had left behind the mini-van. It was firmly wedged under the rear axle, with the handle bars turned to make removing it impossible. While we were puzzling over what to do, and trying to remember how to work the jack, Louisa (age 5) piped up, “I know what to do!” We immediately thought it was going to be one of those testimony meeting moments, where a child in sweet innocence asks for the immediate and practical help of angels. Our sappiness was quickly... Read more »

Sunday School Lesson 14

April 24, 2004 | 2 comments
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I’m going to experiment with posting some of my Sunday School lessons; not because I think I can do better than Jim does, but because he asked me to post them! Read more »

Book of Mormon

April 24, 2004 | 22 comments
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What do you think is the most gorgeous and inspiring thing about the Book of Mormon? Be specific; don’t just say it testifies of Christ. I am searching for ways of putting across the power of the book to non-Mormon readers. Read more »

Chicken Marsala

April 24, 2004 | 59 comments
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I hear conflicting statements about the propriety of using alcohol in cooking. For example, chicken marsala, which is one of our family’s favorite dishes. Some members say that alcohol evaporates during the cooking. I am sure that at least some of the alcohol evaporates during cooking. At the same time, I am doubtful that it all evaporates. I also hear that some de minimus amount is probably allowable, since homemade bread contains trace amounts of alcohol (from the yeast fermentation) and that’s a Mormon staple. Again, I’m not sure of the veracity of this tale. Does anyone know of... Read more »

Joseph

April 24, 2004 | 7 comments
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How would you map Joseph’s thought. If you had to reduce his thought to four or five major areas, what would they be. The ones I am using are: a. The simple gospel of faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and endurance. b. Zion, gathering, the millennium. c. Priesthood, ordinances, endowment of power, temple, rituals. d. Family bonds: baptism for the dead, priesthood marriage, sealings. e. Stories of eternity: the accounts of God’s history and nature, the nature of individual free intelligences, the purpose of life, the hereafter and human destiny. Read more »

Contradiction

April 24, 2004 | 11 comments
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Are we prepared to accept contradiction, plurality, and even ambiguity as an integral part of our theology? Is the aim absolute precision and consistency, or is built-in ambiguity a requirement of a theology that comprehends reality? Read more »

The Grand Alliance

April 24, 2004 | 9 comments
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Do you think it is proper to say that God is recruiting us for the great cause–joining Him in the work of eternal life? Rather than simply being saved from our sins, we are being mobilized? Does this mean, in turn, that God benefits from our worshiping Him, that bringing to pass eternal life for His children adds to His glory? Is priesthood (including women) another name for the grand alliance of those who have joined God in His great work? Read more »

Cosmology

April 24, 2004 | 4 comments
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I have a line in my book about Joseph Smith being the Copernican theologian par excellence. Does that stimulate any thought? Does Joseph Smith’s theology exploit the possibilities opened up by an infinitely expanding universe? Read more »

Compendium

April 24, 2004 | 10 comments
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Since my time as a blogger is drawing to a close, I am going to riddle you with all the ideas I jotted down for possible entries. To permit people to respond to them individually, each one will occupy an entry but with no development. You can develop them as you wish. The first on my list: How does this group come down on the classic questions of God’s power? Is he an absolute God who created everything, knows everything, and has all power? Or is he a contingent God who a) learned to be God, b) is eternal... Read more »

More Bloggernacking

April 22, 2004 | 18 comments
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Over the past few days, I’ve noticed (inter alia): Steve Evans (Thurston-Evans?) musing about hyphenation of last names in the LDS world; Mat Parke discussing having Elder Eyring in the class he taught; David Sundwall noting news items about the new Manhattan Temple; Jeremy Grimshaw discussing (unreasonable?) abortion regulation in Utah; and finally, not in the Bloggernacle but over in neighboring St. Blog’s Parish, an incredibly interesting series of posts (1, 2, 3, 4) over at the Mirror of Justice, dealing with laws against religious conversion in India, and of issues that proselytizing creates more generally. Read more »

The Educated Layperson’s Guide to ______

April 22, 2004 | 22 comments
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I like to read; I think most of us who hang out here do. But I have discovered that as soon as I get even a teeny bit beyond topics that I studied in school, I don’t really know where to go for book recommendations. Read more »

Analogizing the Atonement

April 22, 2004 | 51 comments
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I can’t compete with polyamory and uncontrollable sexual impulses! But perhaps I can use our fabulous LDS guilt system to cause you to read and comment on a post about the Atonement. Read more »

Thank you!

April 22, 2004 | 2 comments
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Yesterday — exactly five months after the counter started — we received our 50,000th visit. I guess we must be doing something right, because folks keep on coming back. We’re getting between 800 and 900 visits per day. I want to say thank you, to all of our readers. Reader participation has made this site what it is today. Oh, many or all of us — Nate, Gordon, Matt, and certainly myself — are quite capable of chatting on for hours, with or without an audience. But this blog has become more than Kaimi or Nate chatting on about... Read more »

Another new blog of interest

April 22, 2004 | no comments
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Polyamory

April 22, 2004 | 10 comments
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As is often the case, Matt Evans was way ahead of the curve when he discussed polyamory back in January with the post, “The Conservative Case for Group and Sibling Marriage.” But here is a new angle (at least to me): some Unitarians are now actively promoting polyamory. The money quotation: It’s the new polygamy, and according to the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness, their relationships are at least as ethical as other marriages — gay or straight. At least as ethical? The implication, of course, is that they may be even more ethical. How so? Consider this from... Read more »

The Bloggernacle – It’s Official

April 21, 2004 | 27 comments
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David Winer, whose full-time job as a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School is to track the blogging phenomenom, and is therefore as authoritative as anyone on blogosphere nomenclature, has referred to the LDS corner of the blogosphere as “the Bloggernacle.” Times & Seasons delivers! Our own Kaimi Wenger raised the issue, Grasshopper coined the moniker 26 minutes later, and the rest is one month of history. Read more »

Quick Newdow Note

April 21, 2004 | no comments
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Belated notice

April 21, 2004 | 11 comments
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I just noticed the recent debate raging (again) in the blogosphere about baptism for the dead. Not that there are a lot of new ideas on the topic, but it’s somewhat interesting to see the same ideas get kicked around again. (See here and here; see also Adam’s recent post on the same subject here). And, while I was noticing this little debate, I also noticed that one of the members of Begging to Differ is a self-identified Mormon (who also, I should note, has stated that he does not intend to blog much about religion). Read more »

All Night Long

April 21, 2004 | 12 comments
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Two nights ago, I stayed up all night finishing a draft of my paper for a conference this Friday. At 2 a.m., one of my eight-year-old twins emerged from his bedroom and was wondering whether he could have breakfast. I sent him to bed, but he was back an hour later. Of course, I was in no mood to debate, and I sent him to bed again. The next morning, my wife reminded me that he had been sick and had not eaten well for a couple of days prior. Arrrgghh!! Guilt … welcome to my life as a... Read more »

A New Blog

April 21, 2004 | 7 comments
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I just came across a new site, The BYU Law Blog by a recent graduate from J. Reuben Clark Law School. The site is worth checking for the picture of conference protesters surrounded by counter-protesters. My favorite is the guy holding the sign reading “There is no Dana, only Zuul!” Ghostbusters, of course, is one of the great neo-liberal movies of all time! Entrepreneurs save the world, which is nearly destroyed by an officious and ignorant EPA regulator. Classic! Read more »

Ronald Reagan’s Unappreciated Gift to Mormon History

April 20, 2004 | 8 comments
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Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan has given a great boon to Mormon historians, one which they have yet to really appreciate. I am talking, of course, about the legions of conservative judges that Reagan appointed to the federal bench. Read more »

Infantilizing Our New Converts

April 20, 2004 | 25 comments
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Several weeks ago a friend bore his testimony, and I was amazed at his warmth and power. He spoke precisely in the manner which Richard Bushman has suggested, relating in simple terms how the Gospel has affected his life. I've been this man's friend since he came into the Church. I taught him in gospel essentials, and I watched him as he went to the temple. But it wasn't until this testimony that I saw him as an equal. Read more »

LDS Hermeneutics

April 20, 2004 | 28 comments
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My least favorite thing about graduate studies in biblical studies was coming to the realization that there was a multisyllabic, Latin- or Greek- derived word for everything, and that precious few of these words would be found in a standard dictionary. Elder Dallin H. Oaks had an experience with this: Read more »

Quick bloggernacking

April 20, 2004 | 2 comments
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I haven’t a lot of time today, and the bloggernacle keeps getting bigger (and harder to keep track of). Here are a few things I’ve noticed over the past few days: Jordan Fowles’ interesting discussion of the topic “Is God a Retributionist or a Utilitarian?” (spoken like a true law student); DP’s comments on why church members should turn off the TV this week; Discussion of garments for sale, by Kim Siever and DP; The Baron of Deseret comments about how we should view polygamy today; he also discusses recent LDS-mainstream movies; Sunstone editor and BCC contributor John Hatch... Read more »