Mormons and Lord Devlin

February 13, 2004 | 5 comments
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When Mormons get up set about things like abortion, pornography, SSM, constitutional prohibitions on anti-sodomy laws, and the like they frequently talk about how these kinds of developments threaten to undermine society’s “moral fabric.” However, I don’t think that we have been sufficiently reflective about this rhetoric. I think that Lord Devlin can help us understand why. Read more »

The Coming of the Clone Wars

February 13, 2004 | 39 comments
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One of my best friends is a biochemist, and he recently pointed out to me that while the a great amount of ink is spilled and blogs filled with debate about SSM, in his mind a farther reaching event has occurred: South Korean (Hanguk mansae!) scientists have cloned a human cell and grown it into a blastocyst. Read more »

Et in unam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam?

February 13, 2004 | 8 comments
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Hey. I keep noticing all kinds of references to Catholic thought around here. Is this a new trend in Mormon studies? The influence of _First Things_? A preoccupation of Mormon lawyers? A fluke coincidence of personal interests? What? Read more »

Don’t Drink, Don’t Smoke

February 13, 2004 | 56 comments
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Perhaps nothing outwardly sets Mormons apart from the rest of society more than our adherence to the Word of Wisdom. And for insiders, as someone once said on this site, the Word of Wisdom just *feels* important. I’m far more likely to offend the Sabbath day, forget a fast, skip hometeaching, use inappropriate language, break the speed limit, or commit dozens of other sins of omission and commission than I am to join my friends sipping tea at a Chinese restaurant. Read more »

Contentment

February 12, 2004 | 6 comments
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As I drove home from work today, I heard an announcement for an upcoming program on Wisconsin Public Radio dealing with the topic of contentment. Implicit in the announcement was an assumption that contentment is a worthy life goal. This caught me off guard. Honestly, it has never occurred to me to pursue contentment. I’m not sure I even know what it means. Read more »

The Greying of Mormon Studies

February 12, 2004 | 42 comments
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Perhaps it is just me but it seems that there is a certain greying that has been happening in the “establishment” voices of the unestablished sector of the Mormon intellectual economy. Read more »

Legislative Judgments of Morality

February 12, 2004 | 32 comments
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Randy Barnett has an interesting post up at the Volokh Conspiracy, giving a persuasive argument about why legislative judgments of morality are not a particularly good basis for legal punishments or restrictions. Barnett makes the very interesting initial assertion that: “A legislative judgment of ‘immorality’ means nothing more than that a majority of the legislature disapproves of this conduct.” Responding to a critique of this position by Rick Garnett, Barnett then elaborates: Consider the claim that homosexuality is immoral. I strongly disagree. Now what? In a contest between a majority of state legislators and me and those who agree... Read more »

A Transparent Hypothetical

February 11, 2004 | 66 comments
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Despite Russell’s recent paean to “slackerdom,” I have the sense that many of you who post and comment here care a great deal about your work, and that you enjoy it. If President Hinckley stood up at the next Priesthood Session and told you that you should all quit your jobs to stay home with your children, what would you do? How would you feel about it? (For the sake of simplifying the discussion, leave out for the moment the financial implications of such a course–I just want to know how you would feel about giving up your career... Read more »

The Importance of Gay Marriage to Conservatives

February 11, 2004 | 33 comments
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This recent New York Times article discusses how important gay marriage has become for conservatives, providing many conservative groups with a new focal point. Indeed, gay marriage (or the specter of it) is probably a more important issue to conservatives than it is to liberals. For many liberals, the issue is relatively unimportant, compared with, say, war in Iraq, federal judiciary appointments, drilling in Alaska, and deprivation of civil liberties under the Patriot Act. Meanwhile, for many conservatives, gay marriage seems to be the most important issue. And that difference in relative importance influences how politicians approach the question. Read more »

STQ: Blind Obedience

February 11, 2004 | 8 comments
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The words “blind obedience” have a negative connotation. They imply something different from “obedience,” standing alone, which is generally thought to be a good thing. The expression “blind obedience” could suggest faith in the face of uncertainty, but it doesn’t. Instead, it suggests unquestioning adherence to inherently imprecise rules, even in the face of silly or adverse consequences. Read more »

Thoughts (Mine and Others’) on Raising Kids

February 10, 2004 | 42 comments
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I had thought I’d write something about Mormonism and lawyers today (look around: they’re everywhere!), but as it turned out, all my blogging time and energy was taken up by a discussion, started by Harry Brighouse over at the group blog Crooked Timber, dealing with child-rearing, commercialism, and the degree of control one can (or should) exercise over the environment in which you raise your kids. Harry’s post, to a certain extent, is a follow-up on another intra-blog discussion (in which I also participated) dealing with a much simpler question: why don’t kids walk to school anymore? But the... Read more »

Thanks Dan

February 9, 2004 | one comment
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Dan Peterson has ended his stint as a guest blogger and we are grateful that he was willing to take the time to do so. Dan is one of the busiest people on the planet–as well as one of the brightest–so we were especially happy for his participation. Read more »

University of Utah Rejects Quinn

February 9, 2004 | 13 comments
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According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the University of Utah history department decided last week not to extend an offer to D. Michael Quinn. The reasoning behind the decision is interesting. Read more »

MSC schedule

February 9, 2004 | no comments
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What is “Church Doctrine” Good For?

February 9, 2004 | 14 comments
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The discussion of “church doctrine” on this blog has thus far focused on what might be called its soteriological significance. However, it seems to me that this is hardly the only reason that one might want to be able to understand “church doctrine.” Read more »

Rescuing an Orphaned Thread (aka Lazy Blogging)

February 8, 2004 | 47 comments
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Last week Nate wondered about how to define “church doctrine.” Near the end of the comments thread, two people very articulately wondered about why we should bother doing so. (Here’s a link to the full discussion). Greenfrog asked: “At the risk of being perceived as a bone-headed realist, doesn’t that suggest that searching for some meaningfully mandatory set of doctrines is missing the point? If such a set of doctrines really isn’t an operationally determinate criterion, why should we conclude that it matters?” Joseph Spencer then usefully reminded us that the word “doctrine” simply means teaching, and posited that... Read more »

Gratitude and Technology

February 8, 2004 | 9 comments
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This week I discovered that I had a retinal tear. Within a couple of hours I also discovered that it was relatively easy to fix. Moderately painful for a few minutes, but a few zaps of the laser and I was “as good as new.” (I’m sure that Janice, my wife, often wonders just how good “new” was that it should be the standard for what I am now.) I am grateful for the knowledge and technology that could turn what not-so-long-ago could have been a disaster into a minor, momentary irritation. Read more »

Sunday School Lesson 7

February 7, 2004 | 3 comments
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Lesson 7: 2 Nephi 3-5 Chapter 3 Verses 1-25: Notice the use of types and shadows: Lehi blesses his son Joseph by telling him of Joseph of old who prophesied of Moses and the latter-day Joseph. Presumably this blessing to Joseph was more than just information. Presumably it gave him something he could use in his own life. In addition, it compares Moses and Joseph Smith in a way that helps us understand each better. Is this use of types and shadows the way that we are to apply the scriptures to ourselves? Of what types do we see... Read more »

Small request for technical assistance

February 7, 2004 | 3 comments
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Since the move to the new server, most things have gone reasonably well. One little thing is still bugging me; I’ve tried a few ways to fix it, and have been unsuccessful. I’m wondering if any of our readers have the knowledge to help (required knowledge will be a little bit of understanding of Java, PHP and/or CGI). UPDATE: Got it! Thanks to Quinn Warnick , the fiction editor for Irreantum, the magazine of the Association of Mormon Letters, for the tip. Read more »

A topic for Sunday: Praise

February 7, 2004 | 9 comments
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A few weeks ago in our Sacrament Meeting, we sang 4 hymns composed by Eliza R. Snow, in honor of the 200th anniversary of her birth. One line from one of those hymns has been on my mind since then. It’s from this verse: He lives! He lives! We humbly now Around these sacred symbols bow, And seek as Saints of latter days To do His will and live His praise. Read more »

Gay Penguins in the New York Times

February 7, 2004 | 11 comments
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Adding further to the discussion of whether or not homosexuality can be considered natural, an article in today’s New York Times discusses the apparently prevalent phenomenon of gay penguins. Who would have thought? Read more »

The Worst of Times

February 7, 2004 | 33 comments
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Tonight the Church Education System sponsored a satellite broadcast from Temple Square, featuring Elder Boyd K. Packer. As an early morning seminary teacher, I was invited to attend. Elder Packer and Elder Eyring, who introduced him, both made comments to the following effect (paraphrasing): “the world has never been more wicked, and it will not get any better.” I have no reason to dispute this, but why are General Authorities (and, by way of imitation, members) so fond of saying such things? Read more »

Priestcrafts

February 7, 2004 | 13 comments
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The Book of Mormon uses the term “priestcrafts” as follows: “priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.” (2 Nephi 26:29) Last weekend, I visited the “local” LDS bookstore (located about two hours away, near the Chicago temple) and discovered a new book about Jesus, written by a man I had met several years ago while practicing law. Although we met only briefly, my impression of this man was very favorable, and I am... Read more »

Welcome Our Newest Guest Blogger: Kristine Haglund Harris

February 6, 2004 | 12 comments
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Regular visitors to this blog will recognize Kristine as the outspoken, ABBA-loving, mother of three who currently has a vice grip on second place (among non-bloggers) in the Comments sweepstakes. Just this week, I learned that Kristine’s brother Rich was my student two years ago at Vanderbilt Law School. While living in Tennessee, I also met Kristine’s father, who is a Professor of Physics at Vanderbilt. Having spent several years in Germany in her youth, Kristine was naturally drawn to the study of all things German at Harvard (A.B.) and Michigan (M.A.). She tells me that her youngest child... Read more »

Street Preachers: The Coasian Solution

February 6, 2004 | 6 comments
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There has been quite a bit of discussion, some here and some on the LDS-law list, about street preachers and garment desecration. But it seems like everyone is missing the obvious question: What would Coase do? Read more »

Bushman v. Brodie: Biographies

February 6, 2004 | 56 comments
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We’ve had several discussions about essential texts in Mormon studies; see here, here, here, here and here. I was hoping we could generate a list, or at least some productive discussion, about a topic we haven’t yet addressed — the great Mormon biographies and autobiographies. Read more »

LDS-Law list goes (sort of) public

February 6, 2004 | no comments
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----- Read more »

Abortion Rights and the Two-Headed Baby

February 6, 2004 | 70 comments
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A while back on an abortion-related thread, one commenter broughtup the old idea that abortion rights could suggest conjoined twins might have a right to kill the twin. That line of argument may no longer be dealing in hypotheticals. Doctors are now preparing to remove the second head from an infant born with two heads. The second head, while not attached to a body of its own, has a partially formed brain, eyes, ears, and lips, and its mouth moves when the baby breast-feeds. Read more »

Blog(ger) Marital Demographics

February 6, 2004 | 8 comments
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It suddenly occured to me last night that our group’s marital homogeneity is rather striking. Consider: We have eight bloggers; we live in different locations; we come from different professions; we have different political beliefs; we find a lot to differ on. We are all married and all have children. (See documentation for Nate, Russell, Kaimi, Adam, Jim,Gordon; Matt’s status is documented on a family webpage that I’ve seen, but don’t know if he wants linked on the public site; I don’t believe Greg has any online documentation, but I can attest to his marital-parental status, having been in... Read more »

Uh-oh.

February 5, 2004 | 15 comments
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I just took the entertaining “Belief System Selector” (what religion are you?) online quiz (link via Minnow’s Pond). And the results are in: I’m not really a Mormon! According to the quiz, I match up to: 1. Mainline – Liberal Christian Protestants (100%) 2. Mainline – Conservative Christian Protestant (93%) 3. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (92%) 4. Jehovah’s Witness (83%) 5. Orthodox Quaker (77%) 6. Eastern Orthodox (69%) 7. Roman Catholic (69%) 8. Seventh Day Adventist (68%) 9. Liberal Quakers (65%) 10. Bahá’í Faith (63%) Hmm, I wonder if that means I can’t be in... Read more »