Warning: A Rant

May 16, 2004 | 24 comments
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Babies are making me crazy. I can’t talk over them in Gospel Doctrine and I can’t hear over them in Relief Society. For a Church that’s so pro-family, why is that we do nothing for the 0-17 month crowd except force their parents to spend two hours each week trying to get them to stop licking people’s shoes? Read more »

Godspeed

May 14, 2004 | 12 comments
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Lyle Stamps, law student and frequent T&S commenter, has been called up to serve in Iraq as a sergeant in the 250th Signal Battalion, Company A, Cherry Hill, New Jersey Army National Guard. His unit has not yet shipped out, but presumeably will be doing so in the near future. Best wishes Lyle. We will keep you in our prayers. Make sure that you drop us an email or post a comment when if you get access to the internet. Read more »

Leading the Church Astray

May 14, 2004 | 42 comments
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My question about what precisely we mean when we say that the prophet will never lead the Church astray came up on another thread. I’d like to explore that question here. A few notes to begin the discussion: Read more »

Sensible Kobe Bryant Commentary

May 14, 2004 | 32 comments
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I’ve been hearing and reading about what a great player Kobe Bryant is, since he is putting up good basketball numbers while also defending himself at trial. I haven’t been particularly impressed with that feat. And I just noticed an ESPN column by writer Jason Whitlock that is more in line with my own feelings. He writes: “As good as played Tuesday, just think: If the idiot hadn’t stepped out on his wife and slept with a teenage woman he didn’t know, he might have been even better Tuesday night. . . . These are the dangers of... Read more »

Ambulation in Mosiah 4

May 13, 2004 | 20 comments
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Ambulation in Mosiah 4. Part 1. King Benjamin has infused his sermons with a theology heavily freighted with corporeal rhetoric. I mean by that, he preaches the gospel of Christ, and living the divine life, by using lots of sensory verbs–seeing, hearing, tasting–and lots of mental operations–believing, knowing, understanding, speaking, asking, rejoicing. He also uses lots of ambulatory verbs: such as walking, standing, running, wandering, falling. Rhetorical ambulation proceeds to itinerancy: travelling a path or taking a journey. I want to explore the significance of the ambulatory and itinerant images. (I haven’t a thesis, only a number of heuristic... Read more »

Shape-Shifting Lizards — Could They Be in Your Ward?

May 13, 2004 | 9 comments
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Since some readers may lack the stamina to wade through 200 comments on the Elite Religion thread, let me make a separate note of a gem of a website mentioned by Dan Peterson. Dan writes: For those who’ve wondered — and (let’s be truthful) who hasn’t? — whether the Church is actually controlled by demonic entities in the form of reptilian humanoids, or lizard men, you’ll find the evidence you’ve been seeking on this explosive Web site. The web site is at This Link, and is mostly links to other sites with more, err, evidence. And don’t let anyone... Read more »

And the dragon fought, and his angels

May 13, 2004 | 7 comments
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Rod Dreher’s tribute to the Chaplain Corp has got online. He praises them for two reasons: First, for providing troops the assurance that, come what may, God will be there with them; if they don’t come back alive, that the sacrifice will have been worth it; and that there’s something better waiting for them on the other side. Second, for helping soldiers coping with stress and loneliness stay morally straight. I am well aware of the need for this second. Theodore Dalrymple learned about the depravity of mankind from his work as a welfare and prison doctor, and from... Read more »

The One True (Un-Micro-)Cosmic Church of Jesus Christ

May 12, 2004 | 80 comments
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What is it that unites the Church of Jesus Christ? Wherein lies our unity? In a recent discussion of baptism on lds-phil, amiable Protestant Joel Wilhelm asked some rather specific questions about the LDS understanding of baptism, and a very involved discussion ensued. After about a week, Joel remarked, ‘thus far what I have seen here seems to be a mirror image of debates within Protestantism or Catholicism about the sacraments, salvation without baptism or outside the church, etc. I am a bit more confused about “what Mormons think” and will try to sort it out more as I... Read more »

Some More Thoughts on Oaths

May 12, 2004 | 22 comments
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As I have a tendency to do, I have been reading law today. In particular, I came across a case dealing with the old rule against party testimony. Originally at common law, a party to a lawsuit could not testify in the suit. There were two justifications for the rule. The first was that the parties to a suit had an incentive to lie in their own interested and therefore their testimony was unreliable. The second justification was that testimony was given under oath, which gave it grave theological significance. Perjury was more than a crime. By virtue of... Read more »

So You Want to Be a Blogger . . .

May 12, 2004 | 23 comments
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A query that I’ve gotten a surprising number of times is, “How do I set up a blog?” I’ve been answering these individually, which has resulted in some nice conversations with readers. However, I thought it might be best to streamline this process, as well as pre-emptively answer the question for anyone who doesn’t want to ask me by e-mail. My credentials, upfront: I can’t claim any special expertise (I have no advanced degrees in blogging), but I do run most of the technical side of T & S. If that’s sufficient credentials for you, and if you want... Read more »

Good ol’ Gossip

May 12, 2004 | 8 comments
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We’ve already discussed good ol’ gossip’s tendency to keep up public standards (which warms my heart, to be sure, but apparently isn’t an argument to everyone’s taste). I’ve just discovered that gossip does some private good. She-who-shall-be-nameless just suggested to me that we dress our daughter in a little graduation gown and I carry her with me throughout the commencement ceremonies. This is horribly kitschy, but I’m horribly sentimental, so I was inclined to assent. Luckily gossip saved me. I sat through several BYU graduations and thus through a multitude of proud parent-graduates hauling their tikes through the graduation... Read more »

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for

May 12, 2004 | 10 comments
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The votes are in on the Post of the Month ballots for April 2004. Kaimi has plugged the numbers into the Excel spreadsheet that knows all, and in a fun twist, Kristine Haglund Harris was narrowly edged out by . . . Kristine Haglund Harris! The top vote-getter was Kristine’s original, thoughtful, and alliteratively-titled post “Laundry, Lizards, and the Sisters of Lazarus” at By Common Consent. It’s an insightful discussion of Mary and Martha, and the difficulty of making time for gospel study among the many mundanities of life — I encourage everyone to go read it. That post... Read more »

Sunday School Lesson 18

May 12, 2004 | no comments
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----- Read more »

Welcome James Siebach

May 12, 2004 | 14 comments
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I’m happy to say that James L. Siebach, a colleage in BYU’s philosophy department, is our new guest blogger. James is a specialist in the philosophy of late antiquity and in medieval philosophy. And, like others among us, he served a mission in Korea. He is also a formidable opponent in an argument, so be forewarned. Read more »

A good Fisking

May 11, 2004 | 24 comments
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I disliked the recent Meridian article by Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse blaming all of the ills of the world on feminism, but I didn’t have time to sit down and explain why. Fortunatey, Kim Siever, over at his spiffy newly-refurbished blog, did have the time for such an exercise. He gives a nice critique of some of the flaws in the article. (Did he miss any potential critiques? I’m certain that if he did, our astute readers will notice and comment). Read more »

True to the Faith

May 11, 2004 | 59 comments
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True to the Faith was introduced to the Church in the April 2004 Ensign: “The Church has issued a new doctrinal guidebook aimed at youth, young single adults, and new members. True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference is a collection of brief, simple statements on gospel doctrines and principles. Almost 200 pages in length, the book is intended to supplement the scriptures and the counsel of current Church leaders. Young men and young women may use it as a resource to assist them in achieving their Duty to God and Personal Progress awards. The book is designed to... Read more »

Mormon Nominated to D.C. Circuit

May 11, 2004 | 38 comments
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For those who follow such things, President Bush has just nominated Tom Griffith, current general counsel for BYU, to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. For the non-law geeks of the universe, the D.C. Court of Appeals is an intermediate level appellate court (just below the Supreme Court) and after the Supreme Court it is widely regarded as the most important court in the United States, frequently serving as a training ground for Supreme Court justices. (Three of the nine current justices — Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg — previously served on the D.C. Court of... Read more »

I Love to See the Temple

May 10, 2004 | 12 comments
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I Love to See the Temple

Today I went on the open house tour of the new Manhattan New York temple. It was, as expected, a great experience. The temple is in the old stake center building. The first and second floors and the fifth and sixth floors are the temple; the third and fourth will remain a chapel (that split layout seems decidedly odd to me). The anti-Mormons were outside, as expected: A half-dozen well-dressed professional-looking folks, one hippie-looking yeller, and a cute-as-a-button little girl, perhaps seven years old, who was cheerfully handing out pamphlets about why polygamy is bad. (If I have a... Read more »

Mothers, heroism, and the divine house

May 10, 2004 | 7 comments
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Yesterday was Mother’s day and the lady’s birthday, so I took over all her job descriptions except milk-nurse. I got up early, cleaned and dressed the kids, cooked breakfast, washed up, went to church and back again, made a three-course meal, washed up again, polished the silver, vacuumed all the crumbs, washed up again, and wrote a poem to go with her birthday cameo. I’m not boasting, I’m exulting. I felt like a hero out on adventures, I felt charged up and fine-fettled, I enjoyed myself immensely. That got me thinking. The thing about adventures is they end. Afterwards... Read more »

Light bloggernacking

May 10, 2004 | 3 comments
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I’ve just noticed a few goings-on today that may be of interest: The Sons of Mosiah have a new, snazzy layout. They also have a new guest-blogger, Robyn Goodwin.* John Hatch has posted an interesting discussion of post-Manifesto polygamy over at the polygamy blog, BCC. I can all but guarantee that there’s something for everyone — to disagree with, that is — in his discussion. Finally, I noticed that Universalist Unitarian (UU) blogger Philocrites has a new post discussing the question, “How universalist is Mormon theology?” Check out the discussion, and you can find out how universalist Mormons are.... Read more »

My Most (Un)Original Sin

May 10, 2004 | 17 comments
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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
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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 »

Mothers Day Revisited

May 10, 2004 | 19 comments
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The diveristy of opinions that my previous post on Mothers Day generated has led me to spend a lot of time this week pondering the following question: If I had to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting on Mothers Day, what exactly would I say? Read more »

Come Join the Ranks

May 9, 2004 | 24 comments
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When I was a missionary one investigator asked me why I (and presumably the other missionaries) was going around trying to teach people. In hard-learned Japanese I said something to the effect of, “Going to heaven alone would be kind of lonely, wouldn’t it?” She later told me if I’d said anything else she would have lost interest right there. I think we in the Church do have something of the greatest value to share with non-members, but I think they have a lot to offer us, too — indeed, they themselves are most precious. How can we best... Read more »

No More Kids, by Law

May 8, 2004 | 13 comments
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A disturbing case, all around. Read more »

Post of the Month contest for April 2004

May 8, 2004 | 32 comments
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The last Post of the Month contest was fun, and generated some thoughtful comments. It’s that time again (actually, a little past that time — I’m running behind, as usual). We are now accepting nominations for Post of the Month for April 2004. Here are the rules (mostly the same as they were last time): Read more »

12 Questions for . . . Sarah Barringer Gordon

May 7, 2004 | 7 comments
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12 Questions for . . . Sarah Barringer Gordon

Just a reminder — please submit questions for Professor Gordon by Monday, May 10. For more information on Professor Gordon, here is an article she wrote in Legal Affairs on polygamy and gay marriage; here is an interview she did on NPR on a similar topic; and here is a Tribune article about a speech she gave at Weber State. Read more »

Hopping along

May 7, 2004 | 2 comments
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I can’t help but be impressed by the consistency and quality of Christopher Bradford (aka Grasshopper)’s new blog, Let Us Reason. Over just the past few days, there have been several high-quality posts. Grasshopper discusses covenanting, particularly the question of who sets the terms of the covenant. He also discusses the tension in the church between inclusiveness and exclusiveness. He has a post wondering why God would want to use evolution as a tool. And there’s also a post wondering in what sense the final judgment is final. This trend is rapidly moving Grasshopper’s blog onto my personal A-list... Read more »

A poem you will probably not hear read over the pulpit this Sunday

May 7, 2004 | 8 comments
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if there are any heavens my mother will (all by herself) have one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor a fragile heaen of lilies-of-the-valley but it will be a heaven of blackred roses my father will be (deep like a rose tall like a rose) standing near my (swaying over her silent) with eyes which are really petals and see nothing with the face of a poet really which is a flower and not a face with hands which whisper This is my beloved my (suddenly in sunlight he will bow, & the whole garden will bow)... Read more »

Our Duty to Present the Church in a Favorable Light at All Times, Just in Case a Non-Member Happens to be Listening

May 7, 2004 | 48 comments
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I’ve touched on this subject before, but it’s on my mind again. I was just over on Eric D. Snider’s site, browsing and chuckling, and I read something that touched on a recurring theme. Eric wrote a column about boring sacrament meetings, and a reader (you’ve heard of her) wrote in to say, inter alia: For some non-members and less actives, your voice may be the only one they hear describing our Sacrament meeting, and if it is, they will have a very different impression than I have from attending. That statement sums up the sentiments I’ve heard often... Read more »

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