Author: Frank McIntyre

Optimal Tithing

Suppose that we had a base 8 system instead of base 10, perhaps because, in this hypothetical world, we had 8 fingers rather than 10. Would we pay 1/8 our increase, or do you think it would still be one tenth? Or, to reverse causality, what are the chances we have ten fingers so that we’d develop a base 10 system that would make it easier to count out our tithing?

General Conference redux

Perhaps the Thursday following General Conference should be declared some sort of Mormon holiday, as that is when written transcripts of the sessions are due out.  Here’s the link where they should show up sometime today.  Check it out if you are looking to catch that talk you didn’t quite stay awake for (or your kids were jumping on your head during).   Elder Oaks’ talk was a particular hit with me, but I think there were some things in Elder Bednar’s talk that I’d like to take another look at.  

BYU Church History Symposium, Feb 27th

Church Historian Marlin K. Jensen and Asst. Church Historian Richard E. Turley Jr. will be among the many speakers at this year’s BYU Church History Symposium.  The event is free, open to the public, and requires no registration.   More information can be found at the symposium web page.   Full announcement below.

Brand New Day

Thanks for all the comments on site design. We’re still making use of that feedback. Here is a two sidebar option that gives a great deal of info up top, but then quickly drops off to just let you read in peace as you get farther down the page. Take it for a spin.

Sunday School Lesson Links

Owing to the fact that I am a moron, Jim F.’s excellent Doctrine and Covenants Sunday School lessons are inordinately hard to retrieve. Here are links to a few of them, and we’ll have the rest of them easy to get to by next week. Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 2 Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 3 Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 4 Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 5 Jim no longer posts at T&S, but he still reads here on occasion, so if you have nice things to say or helpful comments about any of these lessons, please feel free to post them below.

Men at Work — site will be weird for a bit

So we’re switching hosts this weekend. This means things are going to act funny for a while. Since we’ve been having recurring outages for weeks, this should be nothing new to our loyal fans. Hopefully, in the new world order our mindblowing traffic will stop bringing down our server.

Sunday School Redux 2

The Joseph Smith manual had one of my favorite quotes in it this week: “I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes [limits] for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.”

Prop 8

In response to the FP request to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman”, I’m bringing the widget back to the top of T&S. Actually, it’s a slightly different widget. Sometime between now and election day I’ll post my thoughts on Prop 8. But for now, you get this happy little fellow.

Parenting Tips from the Life of Warren Buffett

“The deal that Buffett made with [son] Howie concerning the rent for Howie’s farm was … linked with weight; the amount rose and fell with Howie’s poundage. Warren thought his son should weigh 182.5 pounds. When Howie was over the limit, he had to pay twenty-six percent of the farm’s gross receipts to his father. When he was under, he paid twenty-two percent. … Buffett couldn’t lose on this deal either. He got either more money or a thinner son.” Sharecrop your way to health and wealth.

Brigham Daniels on deck

We’d like to extend many thanks to Kent Larsen for a variety of interesting and thoughtful posts. We also would like to welcome our newest guest, Brigham Daniels. Brigham works as a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center, where he teaches environmental law. He has been involved with LDS community, environmental law and policy, and politics for many years. So not surprisingly, Brigham intends to use his guest blogging stint to talk about Mormonism and the environment. We look forward to his posts. Welcome to the party, Brigham!

Sunday School Inequality

This week I went to an excellent lecture on inequality. Clayne Pope, retiring economist, pointed out that while income inequality in the U.S. has been pretty close to the same for the last 200 years, leisure-time is now concentrated more heavily among the poor, while education inequality and lifespan inequality have both dropped like a rock. These are great things, wonderful even. Unfortunately, I fear that improvement in Sunday School comment inequality may well be stagnant.

Shortage and storage

With the recent spike in food prices, a three year old post demands new life. Here it is: Clearly, were there to be a famine, a one year food supply in the basement would look really good. What may be slightly less obvious is that the presence of food storage, even if nobody ever uses any of it for an emergency, can stop a famine from ever actually happening.

A T&S feature I just invented in the last three minutes: Sidebar Smackdown

Perusing our sidebar this morning, I discovered the same article linked twice, along with each linker’s distinct spin on it. Well if T&S bloggers get to rampantly editorialize in the sidebar, so should you! Feel free to sound off in the comments about the article. Personally, I am opposed to mocking French people. Oh wait, no I’m not. And as long as I’m at it,

Great Sermons: Out of Obscurity

This talk was given early on in Elder Maxwell’s time as an Apostle and I think it is an excellent example of what I liked about him. “Granted, there is not full correlation among the four Gospels about the events and participants at the empty garden tomb. Yet the important thing is that the tomb was empty, because Jesus had been resurrected! Essence, not tactical detail!”

Coase on Abortion

Estimates suggest that, on average, Americans behave as if they value a year of their life at, more or less, $100,000. This would put an average American life at a “revealed preferred” value of somewhere around $7 million.

Great Sermons: Criticism

“I am persuaded that many do not understand the Church’s teachings about personal criticism, especially the criticism of Church leaders by Church members.” Thus begins Elder Oaks’ 1987 article on criticism, its uses and abuses. Our Relief Society President used it as the basis for a Sacrament Meeting talk last month and I thought it deserved a renewed audience. As is typical of Elder Oaks, this is a well thought out piece. Enjoy!

Help out Harry Reid

When Harry Reid spoke at BYU last week, he brought up a topic he was uniquely suited to address. To paraphrase, how can you be a Mormon and a Democrat? Reid’s response was, well, deeply predictable in the outset but wildly unpredictable after that.

The Number One Qualification

There are all sorts of characteristics one wants in a Bishop. Ideally he’d be kind, honest, obedient, a good people person, in-tune spiritually, good at administration and delegation, care deeply about the youth, doctrinally aware, and so on. But all of these pale in comparison to what I consider to be by far the leading qualification for Bishop.