At 3:28 this morning we welcomed a new son into the world. As one would expect, congratulations and well-wishes have come flooding in from friends and family all day. And for all of these we have been moved and grateful. First thing this morning, however, we received a congratulatory gift we hadn’t anticipated. Women housed in the Alexandria Detention Center had sent us a hand-crocheted blanket, cap and set of booties. (In Packer yellow-and-green for my Cheese-head wife no less). Both modern and ancient scripture admonish us to serve the “least” of those among us, noting that doing so is akin to serving Christ himself. My wife and I found ourselves touched that, at such a sacred and spiritual time for our family as the birth of our new son, we had been remembered by some gracious women who, by some standard, might consider to be the “least” of those in our society today. Humbled by the act, we resolved to reach back out in some way to those women at the Alexandria Detention Center. Small acts of love are truly contagious.
As one who has turned into something of Boozer-apologist this past year in the face of attacks on him by some disgruntled Jazz fans, I was buoyed to see an account of a recent Boozer interview yesterday in the Deseret News. When the Miami-area sports station host interviewing Boozer called Utah “gorgeous” but “a horrible place to live, horrible,” Boozer said: “Nah, it’s not that bad. You know, I’m raising my kids out there. It’s pretty nice. We have a good time out there with our basketball team, successful of course. That’s the frontcourt of it, the most important thing of it. And it’s a great place to raise your kids. And it is beautiful.” The host kept at it though, asking: “But those Mormon people are crazy, aren’t they? I mean, the Mor…” At which point Boozer, cut in saying: “Nah, they’re not bad at all. They’re not bad at all. Yeah. Not bad at all.” Here’s hoping Utah is able to keep him (and draft a decent center)… or next season could be a painful one for Jazz fans.
While Rana Lehr-Lehnardt’s guest run continues, Times & Seasons is happy to introduce our next guest blogger, Ralph Hancock. Ralph is a long-time professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University. He is the author of Calvin and the Foundations of Modern Politics, as well as of numerous edited volumes, articles and chapters. His forthcoming book, The Responsibility of Reason (Rowman & Littlefield), addresses the meaning and limits of reason through a triangulation involving de Tocqueville, Heidegger and Strauss. Ralph has also translated three books (including one with his son Nathaniel) and numerous chapters and articles from French, and has organized and directed more than a dozen scholarly conferences and colloquia concerning philosophical and religious dimensions of public issues. He holds degrees from BYU and from Harvard University. Ralph is also the founder and president of the John Adams Center for The Study of Faith, Philosophy and Public Affairs, which aims to resist the narrowing of the notion of “reason” to the blind expansion of certain purported “rights” and instead encourage the exploration of the philosophical and religious dimensions of public issues so as to enrich individual understanding and public debate. Just this past weekend, the John Adams Center sponsored an academic symposium in Duck Beach, North Carolina on “Mormons and the Public Square.” As if this was not enough, Ralph recently helped to found the online journal SquareTwo, which focuses on LDS thought concerning the important issues of the world…
Since instituting the “A Mormon Image” series last fall, our submissions have slowed from a glut to a trickle. As a result, we thought we would issue a new call for photographs to be considered for inclusion in the series. The instructions for submissions can be found here and the images we have featured since kicking off the series can be viewed here.
Times & Seasons is happy to introduce our newest guest blogger, Rana Lehr-Lehnardt. Rana is a mother of three who just finished up her first semester teaching at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School. After spending several years in the D. C. area, Rana and her family are adjusting to life in Liberty, Missouri where her husband, Mark, has established a corporate and international trade practice. Before finding her way to the University of Missouri, Rana attended law school at BYU, clerked on the Tenth Circuit for Judge Terrence O’Brien, earned an L.L.M. from Columbia Law School, worked at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, and served as the legal adviser for the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. In her Missouri ward, Rana is in the YW presidency where she encourages the young women to question openly, think critically, and search diligently. Please give Rana a warm and hearty T&S welcome.
In the course of an interesting email exchange today, I learned that a good friend and I had had similar experiences in trying to track down our priesthood lines of authority. After being ordained Elders, we both asked our fathers if they had copies of their lines of authority, both said they thought they did somewhere, but both ultimately could never come up with them. My friend then approached his uncle, figuring that he might have the same line as my friend’s father, but without success. Fast forward ten years. His uncle randomly found his line of authority and remembered my friend asking for it. They were both surprised to learn though that the uncle had been ordained an Elder by his Bishop, not by his father as is the current custom. Unfortunately this Bishop was not Bishop when my friend’s father would have been ordained, so my friend was still no closer to tracking down his own line of authority. Or at least it initially appeared. At the bottom of his uncle’s line of authority, however, was a phone number and extension at the Church office building. After braving a series of automated messages, my friend was given an email address and a set of instructions for requesting his line of authority. He received a copy of his line of authority the next day. If you (like me) have never managed to get a hold of a copy of…
Several weeks ago the NPR program This American Life aired a stunning segment on Gordon Gee, the Latter-day Saint President of Ohio State University, and his daughter Rebecca. The segment revolved around a series of letters Gordon’s late wife Elizabeth wrote to their daughter as she was dying of cancer. Rebecca was 16 at the time of her mother’s death, and the letters were to be given to her each year on her birthday for thirteen years. Rebecca, however, gradually drifted from the Church, while the letters from her devout mother focused heavily on the deep yearnings she had for her daughter to remain close to the Mormon faith and marry in the temple. Gordon, meanwhile, began to find himself caught in between these letters from his late wife and his daughter, with whom he remained close. The segment, as is typical of This American Life, is handled deftly with balance, in a way that leads you to understand and identify with each side in the story. It also got me thinking of the many other Mormon-related segments This American Life has aired. Among the most poignant for me are Where’s King Solomon When You Need Him? from Episode 380, which tells the heart-wrenching adoption saga of a Mormon couple, and God’s Close Up from Season 1 of the This American Life television series, which profiles Latter-day Saint Artist Ben McPherson, and his effort to paint a series of works…
The Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association is holding its Spring 2010 Conference on April 23 and 24 on the theme What Is Mormon Studies? Transdisciplinary Inquiries into an Emerging Field. The Conference line-up is as follows: Keynote Address Jan Shipps – Indiana University-Purdue University Critical Approaches to Mormon Studies Loyd Ericson – “Where is the Mormon in Mormon Studies? Subject, Method, Object” Cheryl L. Bruno – “Mormon History from the Kitchen Window: White is the Field in Essentialist Feminism” Blair Van Dyke – “How Wide the Divide? The Absence of Conversation between Mormon Studies and Mormon Mainstream” Christopher C. Smith – “What Hath Oxford to do with Salt Lake?” Challenges Facing Mormon Studies Adam S. Miller – “A Manifesto for Mormon theology” Jacob Rennaker – “Through a Glass, Darkly? Biblical Studies, Mormon Studies, Parallels, and Problems” Greg Kofford – “Publishing Mormon Studies: Inside Looking Out” Scholar Panel Brian Birch – Utah Valley University J. Spencer Fluhman – Brigham Young University Armand L. Mauss – Claremont Graduate University Concluding Remarks Richard Bushman – Claremont Graduate University For more information see the Claremont Mormon Studies website.
Tyler Cowan revisits the topic in a post today (HT: Sheldon). I vaguely remember someone in the bloggernacle posting on this in years passed, but my cursory search didn’t turn up much. So, as I’m curious what others make of the research, I thought I’d throw it out to the wolves again. Cowan quotes a new article that states in relevant part: Washington (2008) finds that, controlling for total number of children, each additional daughter makes a member of Congress more likely to vote liberally and attributes this finding to socialization. However, daughters’ influence could manifest differently for elite politicians and the general citizenry, thanks to the selection gradient particular to the political process. This study asks whether the proportion of female biological offspring affects political party identification. Using nationally-representative data from the General Social Survey, we find that female offspring induce more conservative political identification. We hypothesize that this results from the change in reproductive fitness strategy that daughters may evince. (Perhaps this plea is laughably in vain, but let’s avoid the banal partisan tit-for-tat).
Stewart Udall, U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Kennedy and Johnson and a prominent member of a prolific Mormon political dynasty, passed away Saturday morning at his home in Sante Fe, New Mexico, according to a statement from his son, Senator Tom Udall. Known affectionately as “Stew,” he was ninety years old and the last surviving member of Kennedy’s original cabinet. While he did not remain an active Latter-day Saint in his later life, he nevertheless kept close ties with the Church and continued to self-identify as a Mormon, claiming that he was “Mormon born and bred, and it’s inside me… I prize my Mormon heritage and status.” More than that, throughout his adult life he served as an important intermediary for the Church on both political and religious matters. Background and Public Life Stew was the son of former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Levi S. Udall. He was born in the small town of St. Johns, Arizona in 1920 and attended the University of Arizona before leaving on a mission to the Eastern States in 1940. After his mission, Stew enlisted in the Air Force, serving as a B-24 gunner and flying fifty missions over Europe during World War II. Upon returning from his service, Stew attended law school at the University of Arizona, graduating in 1948. He also married Ermalee Webb that same year, his life-long companion with whom he had six children. In the 1950s, Stew entered politics…
Almost two months to the day that we invited him to guest, Dane Laverty has continued to blog with us at a prodigious pace. We are now happy to report that he is a guest no longer, but will be joining T&S as a full-time blogger. Dane is a resident of Salem, Oregon and Sacramento, California. He graduated from BYU in contemporary dance, supports his family as a computer programmer, and is attending Willamette University as a business student. He is also a prolific reader and — as we have seen — blogger. We certainly look forward to more of his thought-provoking posts in the months and years to come. Welcome aboard Dane.
As Maren Mecham continues her guest run here at T&S, we’d like to cordially welcome our newest guest blogger, Dane Laverty. Dane is a resident of Salem, Oregon and Sacramento, California. He graduated from BYU in contemporary dance, supports his family as a computer programmer, and is attending Willamette University as a business student. Thoughtful and well-read, Dane is certain to have some great posts in store. Please give him a warm and hearty T&S welcome.
The Church has reportedly just purchased a couple large plots of land in downtown Salt Lake, including “a 10-acre block directly north of the Little America Hotel and another 2- to 3-acre parcel directly north of the Grand America Hotel. The parcels are across from each other on either side of Salt Lake City’s Main Street.” It currently seems to be just two large parking lots. The official word is that it’s a long-term investment and the Church has no immediate plans for development. Any idle speculation as to what the Church might use the land for?
A Utah County today’s residents would hardly recognize: A onetime famed FBIman, Reed Ernest Vetterli, whose career could yield a dozen detective yarns, is in the middle of his hardest case: trying to get elected to Congress as a Republican in Utah’s heavily New Deal Second District. His platform: support the President in the war; get new blood into Congress…. Republican Vetterli, with State G.O.P. backing, practically has the nomination in his pocket; so has the Democratic incumbent, stocky, stodgy J. Will Robinson of Provo. But G.O.P. chances in the election are—according to the recent past—slim: many a former WPA worker has moved to the Second District for war work to strengthen the strong Democratic forces. “Utah’s Vetterli,” Time Magazine, August 10, 1942 Vetterli later ran for Governor of Utah on the Republican ticket where Utah County again proved problematic. “In Utah County we are much concerned about the nominee for Governor.” (Deseret News, June 21, 1944). (Hat Tip: Sheldon)
“[University of Utah Quarterback Alex] Smith is a native of San Diego and knew little of the Utah-BYU rivalry. He knows now. “I’m much more into it this year,” Smith says. “I really hate them. Playing in the game helped me understand. They are the most arrogant people. It’s the whole church and state thing. They’re the ‘good kids’. We’re the ‘bad kids.’ I didn’t feel it in my gut last year like I do now.” November 19, 2004, Smith pays the price for knowledge, ESPN.com Discuss.
A good friend, while studying constitutional law for the bar exam this summer, emailed me some thoughts he scribbled down when he should have been hacking away at a few more MBE questions on judicial review. Instead, however, he hammered out a constitutional analysis on the justiciability of prayers. You see, in case you weren’t aware, in order to receive an answer to a prayer, one’s prayer must involve a “case or controversy” that is fit for review. So, without further adieu, allow me to present the doctrine of revelatory justiciability (a.k.a., what studying for the bar does to your brain).
President Uchtdorf conducted the Priesthood session, featuring talks by Elder Ballard, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Choi, Elder Uchtdorf, Elder Eyring and President Monson. Direct quotations (based on my notes) are given in quotes; phrases without quotes are my summary of the remarks given.
With the dawn of another much-anticipated season of college football nearly upon us, I’ve been thinking about a series of conversations I had this past year with a friend regarding the allocation of resources at BYU. This friend was bothered by the fact that the BYU football program has received such a tremendous amount attention and financial support from the alumni and administration while what he saw as more deserving schools and programs within the university went underfunded. The standard answer to such concerns seems to be that the football program is shown preference because it serves as an important missionary tool for the Church (and the school).
I was sad to hear of the passing of Ted Kennedy this week. While his policy views often stood in stark contrast with those held by many Latter-day Saints in the United States, he was, nevertheless, a consummate legislator who truly knew how to put political differences aside and reach across the aisle to find common ground on pressing issues facing our country. More importantly, though, and in spite of whatever mistakes he may have made in his life, Ted Kennedy struck me as a good man intent on making America a better place. He is also one who seemed to take to Mormons
We’re expanding the ranks a bit more here at Times & Seasons and are pleased to welcome two more new permabloggers to our ranks: Robert Ricks and James Olsen. Both have recently guest blogged and have bios available here and here. As with Alison and Rory, we look forward to their continuing contributions here at T&S.
Times & Seasons is pleased to welcome our newest guest blogger, Jayme Blakesley.
Times & Seasons is pleased to welcome our newest guest blogger, Ms. Rebecca McConkie Smylie.
Times & Seasons is excited to introduce our latest guest blogger James C. Olsen.
Here is the last installment of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our last two questions. We’d like to thank Brother Perkins for the time and effort he’s put in to giving us a set of very substantive and thought-provoking responses.
Here is Part Three of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our next five questions. See Parts One, Two, and Four for our introduction of Brother Perkins and his responses to our other questions.
Here is Part Two of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our next four questions. See Parts One, Three and Four for our introduction of Brother Perkins and his responses to our other questions.
Times & Seasons is happy to introduce our next guest blogger, Robert Ricks.
Times & Seasons would like to thank guest bloggers Rory Swenson and Bruce Webster for their contributions over the last few weeks. We have more great guest bloggers in the works, so stay tuned.