Great Sermons

March 3, 2004 | 53 comments
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In our casting about essential Mormon texts and our questing for Mormon literary achievement, I think that we frequently foget on of the great Mormon mediums and one that we have produced in huge quanties, with occasional examples of great quality. I am talking about sermons. Read more »

Lying to Our Children

March 3, 2004 | 8 comments
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When I arrived home from work yesterday, my wife calmly informed me that she had just lied to our son. Sullivan, our oldest, has many quirky preferences (like a lot of other children, I believe) and he can be quite stubborn (gee, I wonder who he inherits that from?). One of his quirky preferences is that his sandwiches be made with grape jelly, not any other flavor, and especially not strawberry. I consider this preference to be quirky because Sullivan can’t really tell the difference once the sandwich is made. Yesterday we had a household crisis — we were... Read more »

Catholics Made to Provide Contraception

March 3, 2004 | 12 comments
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I’ve decided to stay in touch with my sexually-obsessed inner Puritan. Mormon texts, Mormon shmexts, what about birth control? More to the point, what about religious freedom? California law requires employers to pay for contraception through health plans. Catholics think contraception is wrong, so Catholic charities and Catholic hospitals resisted the rule. Now the California Supreme Court has ruled that the Catholics must comply. Apparently, it mattered to the Court that the charities and hospitals employed non-Catholics and treated non-Catholics. Segregation marches on. Religious belief is no longer allowed to influence legislation, post-Lawrence. In California, it is no longer... Read more »

“One Flesh”

March 3, 2004 | 3 comments
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One of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend more time with my wife, and since she didn’t object, this is one resolution that I have kept. My motivation is partly short term — my wife is my best friend, and I enjoy our times together. But I also am motivated by the idea of eternal companionship. Indeed, I like all of the doctrines of unity: marriage, Zion, exaltation. These concepts inspire me. With regard to marriage, we are told that “man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be... Read more »

The Passion vs. The Last Temptation

March 2, 2004 | 78 comments
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(I blush to confess that) I’m old enough to remember the release of The Last Temptation of Christ. While there was some discussion of the film in the student ward I attended, I don’t remember it being nearly as big a kerfuffle (or “brou-hahr-hahr” as they say around here) as The Passion has been. I’m sure that not nearly as many Mormons saw The Last Temptation as will see The Passion. I can think of several possible reasons for this: Read more »

The Books to Be Written

March 2, 2004 | 29 comments
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Let’s see if we can start a discussion that doesn’t revolve around homosexuality and same sex marriage. (What a sexually obsessed bunch we are!) A while back, one commenter suggested that what we needed in addition to a list of “must read” Mormon studies texts is a list of books that haven’t yet been written but should. In the spirit of that question, let me offer some ideas. Read more »

The Meaning of Sodom and Gomorrah

March 1, 2004 | 17 comments
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There is an interesting exchange over at The Metaphysical Elders between The Historian and The Lawyer over the proper interpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. I am inclined to think that the Historian has the better of the argument, but you can judge for yourselves. Read more »

FHE with a future defense attorney

March 1, 2004 | 9 comments
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So, tonight our Family Home Evening was a review of our Family Laws, which were composed when the kids were 6 months, 2, and 4 years old, and which need review and minor adjustments pretty often. We thought that our 7-year-old, and maybe our 5-year-old were ready for the notion that actions can have both natural consequences and consequences imposed by an authority of some sort. We chose what seemed like a simple example–driving through a red light (natural consequence: accident, imposed consequence: ticket). The following discussion ensued: Read more »

Marriage According to Biblical Principles

March 1, 2004 | 41 comments
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A February 25 statement by Congressman Jim McDermott highlights some of the potential problems of arguing that marriage should be (as the Presidential prayer team has suggested) based on “biblical principles.” Such as: A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. Ouch! (See also this blog providing further textual support for the passages the Congressman didn’t give verses for). (Link via Heidi Bond). Read more »

S.T.D.’s – Sexually Threatening Discussions

February 29, 2004 | 10 comments
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Stake visitors amble through the hallways during Sunday School time of ward conference in an urban Chicago ward. Suddenly, bellowing from the young women’s classroom, comes the teacher’s mighty voice: “Chastity means NO SEX, NO SEX, NO SEX!” Just how do we communicate sexual standards in understandable, meaningful, practical ways? Read more »

Lawyers on the Front Line

February 29, 2004 | 12 comments
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Apparently, there was a globally broadcast pow-wow of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society yesterday, during which Elder Boyd K. Packer spoke, condemning the wickedness of the world, quoting Robert Bork on the usual subjects, and calling upon LDS lawyers to work to stem or slow the tide of evil all around us–not just for the sake of the church, but also on behalf of “ordinary people who need your professional protection.” Surely at least one or two of the dozens (hundreds?) of LDS lawyers who visit, comment or blog here heard Elder Packer’s remarks. Any comments? The Deseret... Read more »

“Good Books”

February 29, 2004 | 13 comments
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How are we to understand the injunction to “study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people”? More to the point, how do we choose the books we will or will not read? This post was inspired by The Da Vinci Code, which I have been reading with my wife. One of my vices is that I love a well-written mystery. While this book has occasional moments of suspense, Dan Brown is a clumsy writer who makes the story as tedious as it is implausible. But I am not here to do... Read more »

Cougarboard

February 28, 2004 | 4 comments
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Look what they are not discussing on Cougarboard. Read more »

Today’s Church Statement on Immigration

February 27, 2004 | 33 comments
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Apropos of our recent political discussions, the Church released a statement today proclaiming neutrality on a Utah immigration bill and saying “The Church repeats its oft-stated caution to members that they should never infer that the church endorses their personal political positions.” Read more »

Hello, Out There!

February 27, 2004 | 9 comments
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Early this morning, our Site Meter rolled over the 20,000 visitor mark. Kaimi noted the first 10,000 five weeks ago, on January 22. That first 10,000 required nine weeks of blogging. Based on traffic this week — which passed 400 visitors per day for the first time on Wednesday — we will reach the next 10,000 sometime well before the end of March. Although I rarely purport to speak for all of the bloggers on this site, I think that I can safely venture the following: we all appreciate the opportunity to engage in this forum, and express thanks... Read more »

Mormons for Bush, Dean, and ESJ

February 27, 2004 | 11 comments
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A while back we discussed the Mormons for Dean blogs (see here, e.g.). These bloggers are moving on, to LDSdemocrats.com and other places. What was intriguing about these sites was that one could make donations and volunteer through them. The campaign could know that x dollars and x footsoldiers came from the Saintly ranks. I, for one, got excited by the prospect that my own political involvement might help to strengthen the Church politically. If I was going to volunteer and donate, why not do it through Mormons for Bush? A recent post on Mormons for Equality and Social... Read more »

A Mormon Image: Mormons on the Picket Line

February 26, 2004 | 37 comments
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A Mormon Image: Mormons on the Picket Line

Mormons have a well-deserved reputation as a conservative bunch. Hence, I have to include this wonderful image of leftist Mormons on the picket line. Read more »

Around the blogs

February 26, 2004 | 2 comments
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I had to post an around-the-blogs when I read this post by Autumn about her mission papers. Key quote: “Autumn,” he said “You’re pretty attractive, you’re smart, you have a fun personality. Why don’t you just get married instead?” Yikes! In other blogs: Dave discusses Mormon Shakespeares again; Bob Caswell discusses priorities of church members; some Metaphysical Elders discuss the Mormon (reverse?) diaspora; and (not totally LDS related) Eric James Stone is now a professional author. Congratulations Eric! Read more »

A Statute of Limitations on Anonymity?

February 26, 2004 | 8 comments
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The Church is often accused of being secretive about its history. My tendency is to think that this is a bit overplayed. No less an iconoclast that Will Bagley (of Blood of the Prophets fame) has stated that he doesn’t think that there is any secret history of Mormonism to be written. This is not to say that there aren’t some documents that I would love to see! Read more »

What Disturbs Me About Dale-Era Boy Scouts of America

February 26, 2004 | 47 comments
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I’m sure most readers of this blog have heard of Boy Scouts v. Dale, the case holding that the Boy Scouts had a First Amendment right not to admit homosexuals as Scout leaders. Read more »

Problematic Pedagogy

February 26, 2004 | 52 comments
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Modern writers, readers, and movie viewers know that flawless (human) characters are boring, not inspiring. So why do we portray our church leaders this way? Read more »

On Teaching Seminary

February 25, 2004 | 8 comments
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As regulars here know, I teach early morning Seminary. I love the students in the class, which includes my 15-year-old daughter. My Seminary teaching style is relaxed. Today, for example, we covered the first couple of chapters in Job, intermittantly reading and talking. (“Could Satan really talk to God like that?” “Was Job a real person?”) Tangents — mostly generated by the random firing of dendrites inside the brains of the most outspoken young men — are a regular feature of the class. We laugh a lot. Once or twice a week, we eat breakfast. We learn something new... Read more »

Civic Religion – Again

February 25, 2004 | 13 comments
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For those not aware of the fact, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Locke v. Davey a few hours ago, holding that it did not violate the Free Exercise Clause for the State of Washington to exempt divinity degree applicants from an otherwise available scholarship fund. I am not going to comment here on the opinion itself, but there was a line from Justice Scalia’s dissent that brought to mind an earlier discussion here at T&S on civic religion. Read more »

Turning BYU into Bob Jones

February 25, 2004 | 13 comments
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Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon on one reason the Federal Marriage Amendment is necessary: “Religious freedom, too, is at stake. As much as one may wish to live and let live, the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before. Every person and every religion that disagrees will... Read more »

Lent

February 24, 2004 | 12 comments
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Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season for many Christians. At Christmastime, there was some conversation about the virtues of non-Mormon worship, including the observance of the Christian calendar. Read more »

A Poesy on the Borders of Poetry

February 24, 2004 | 3 comments
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A Poesy on the Borders of Poetry for a Year on the Verge of Spring: Spring has started to crack through here in Indiana. The sun’s come through the clouds, the snow melts, and we can see patches of green grass that have survived the winter. In honor of spring, I give you a poem I wrote a few years back, inspired by a spiritual moment I had while hacking and cursing the dandelions. As you will see, hack is the mot juste. Read more »

Christian Kitsch – We Are Not Immune

February 24, 2004 | 23 comments
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A new fashion statement – crucifixion spike jewelry? Read more »

Jello and The Saga of the Restoration

February 23, 2004 | 7 comments
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Jello and The Saga of the Restoration

I don’t really believe in coincidences since my last visit to Palmyra, New York, where I learned of the deep relationship between Jello and Mormonism Read more »

Deserving One’s Wages

February 23, 2004 | 14 comments
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Russell’s qualified repudiation of the idea that all those with a six-figure salary are on their way to hell has got me thinking about wages and what one can deserve. Read more »

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like Unto…a Starbucks?

February 23, 2004 | 8 comments
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Jesus loved teaching with metaphors from the mundane. You remember the stories in Matthew: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed….like unto leaven….like unto treasure hid in a field. He holds up a comparison and invites his listeners (sometimes with His help) to extract meaning and insight. Imagine my surprise in a recent epiphany that the kingdom of heaven in my day is also like unto a Starbucks! Read more »

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Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.