Marvin Perkins has graciously agreed to answer a few questions from Times & Seasons. Brother Perkins is a Latter-day Saint music producer who is currently the Public Affairs Co-chair for the Genesis Group and who has worked to nurture understanding between African Americans and Latter-day Saints and attack misconceptions. As part of this effort, he has appeared on CNN, among other places. In late 2007, Brother Perkins and former Genesis Group President Darius Gray put out a DVD entitled “Blacks in the Scriptures” that contains four lecture-style scriptural presentations on Blacks and the Bible, Skin Color, Curses, Equality, Priesthood and Blacks as well as a historical look at Blacks and the LDS Priesthood.
According to a Washington Post article set to appear in tomorrow’s paper, KBYU may be in serious danger of losing its PBS affiliation if it continues to air Latter-day Saint devotionals and other religious programming.
The Mormon practice of proxy ordinance work has once again made its way into the news, this time involving someone no less prominent than our U.S. President’s late mother.
Even as our current guest bloggers, Rory Swenson and Bruce Webster, are still wrapping up their guest posting stints, Times & Seasons is happy to introduce our next guest blogger, Bryan Hickman.
Last year, several General Authorities, including Elders M. Russell Ballard and Marlin K. Jensen, waded into the immigration debate in an attempt to influence and moderate the policies being discussed. Given the large number of undocumented immigrants in the Church, especially out West, and the dramatic effect that immigration crackdowns have on our membership, the reason for such action is understandable. In recent weeks, additional developments underscore why, in my mind, Church members ought to support comprehensive immigration reform that, while seeking to better secure our borders and enforce immigration law, also allows otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants who are currently here a chance to normalize their status.
Presidential campaigns aside, one of the first political races I can remember paying attention to growing up was the 1990 congressional race between Karl Snow and new comer Bill Orton to fill retiring Rep. Howard C. Nielson’s 3rd District congressional seat. I was 12 at the time and delivered the Utah County Journal, a free area newspaper.
We’d like to give a warm, hearty welcome to Rory Swensen, who has agreed to guest blog here for a week or two.
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it is easing a handful of restrictions imposed by the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Among other things, Cuban-Americans will now be allowed to travel to Cuba as much as they like and will be free to send money and gifts to friends and relatives without securing travel or export licenses from the Treasury or the Commerce Department.
This past weekend, the Church posted an Easter Video on its Youtube page, which it prominently plugged on the LDS.org front page.
Meet Joseph Wafula Sitati, introduced today as a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He is the first [black] African General Authority and only the second black General Authority (the first being Helvécio Martins, a Brazilian who served five years in the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 1990 to 1995). (Joseph and Gladys Sitati)
Thursday night I heard a short piece on the radio that brought me close to tears. Part of NPR’s on-going series of personal essays called This I Believe, the segment illustrated for me the meaning of true forgiveness as perfectly as anything I’ve ever heard. The essay was delivered by two people, Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino. Ronald is a man who spent 10 1/2 years in prison for a crime he did not commit based primarily on testimony given by Jennifer, a woman who had mistakenly picked him out of a line-up as the man who had raped her.
Richard E. Turley will be speaking at the Wesley Theological Seminary this coming Sunday. Last year I posted a couple of notices about a great series of events that Greg Prince, co-author of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, hosts every few months at his house in Potomac, Maryland.
“We need to exercise our prayers and help [President Obama] accomplish the great objectives that he has set.” Discuss.
We’re due for an infusion of new blood here at T&S, so we’ve decided to roll out the red carpet for one Sheldon G. Sheldon got his undergraduate degree from the U of U, where he majored in history, wrote his senior thesis on the reactions of LDS women to the Correlation-related changes to the Relief Society, and took advantage of every possible opportunity to taunt and belittle BYU fans. Upon graduating, Sheldon attended law school at The George Washington University Law School, where he chaired the 2008 Religious Freedom Moot Court competition. After graduating in May 2008, Sheldon took a job with a major D.C. trade association. He now intends to accrue even more student debt by pursuing a Ph.D in Religious Studies, with a focus on the role of religion in the public square. More importantly, however, Sheldon and the woman who so admirably puts up with him are also expecting their second child this summer.
God be thanked for the matchless gift of his only begotten. Merry Christmas everyone.
Below is a forward I recently received about a perceived effort to eliminate the release time seminary system in an Idaho school district. The email is from a CES employee to parents of students in the school district encouraging them to oppose one of several proposed schedules currently under consideration that apparently would restructure the district’s trimester system and eliminate the class flexibility that enables the release time seminary program. It’s unclear whether preventing the Church from offering seminary during school hours was the intent of the proposed schedule at issue, but it nonetheless raises some interesting questions about the release time seminary program.
Elder Wirthlin died at 11:30 p.m. last night in his home. He was the oldest living apostle at 91. We invite you to share your memories and thoughts about Elder Wirthlin as we mourn his passing.
In the run up to and in the wake of Prop 8, Latter-day Saint proponents of the measure have often tried to parse their words carefully when discussing their support for it in order to avoid charges of bigotry and hate for opposing the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. Echoing a refrain from the late Gordon B. Hinckley, Mormon Prop 8 supporters have often tried to explain that they are “not anti-gay, but pro-marriage.” This effort, however, has clearly failed to shield members from allegations of discrimination.
In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too. Barack Obama November 4, 2008
Barack Obama has sought to bring pro-lifers and pro-choicers together to find a middle ground on the issue of abortion. With the help of noted conservative legal scholar, pro-life activist, and former Romney supporter Doug Kmiec
An anti-Prop 8 organization has released a new commercial drawing Mormon missionaries into the fight over Proposition 8. To say the ad is inflammatory is putting it lightly.
The FBI released its files on Gordon B. Hinckley last week in response to a FOIA request from the Salt Lake Tribune. Apparently the FBI conducted a background check on President Hinckley in 1951 in order to ensure he wasn’t a communist and clear him for a potential position with Voice of America. The results… no dirt. The verdict seemed to be that this Gordon B. Hinckley was a “loyal American” whose reputation and work ethic were unimpeachable. The whole (slightly redacted) file is pretty interesting and definitely worth a look.
An appellate court in Arkansas last week refused to overturn a lower court ruling which found a woman’s ex-husband in contempt of court for [violating the couple’s custody agreement by] failing to raise their minor children “in the Protestant faith” after the ex-husband started promoting his Mormonism to their children. While many Mormons, and the Church itself even, would agree with the idea that Mormonism is not a Protestant faith, it seems to me that having courts making theological determinations about what denominations constitute “Protestant” is wading into some pretty murky territory. What if the custody agreement had stipulated that the kids were to be raised “in the Christian faith” and the wife similarly objected?
Heads up for those in the D.C. area. Earlier this Spring I posted a notice about a great series of events that Greg Prince, co-author of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, hosted at his house in Potomac, Maryland. After a brief summer interlude, Brother Prince is back at it. The speaker at his next meeting will be Darius Gray, who will screen and discuss his recently completed documentary, “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons” (which he co-wrote and produced with T&S alum Margaret Young). Brother Gray served in the presidency of the Genesis Group–a Church-sponsored support group for black Latter-day Saints–for three decades and is truly a pleasure to hear speak. The meeting will be on Sunday, October 19th, at 7:00 p.m. Those interested in attending need to RSVP to Brother Prince as soon as possible (gprince at erols.com). When you do, request his address (I’d rather not post it here) and let him know if you can bring a snack or dessert (as larger-than-normal attendance is expected for this event).
Conference this past weekend (and the lengthy list I made during it of all the ways I need to change) got me thinking about a conversation I had with a recent law school grad in our ward who was studying for the bar this summer. He’d been complaining to me about having no time and had asked me how I went about trying to balance family, work, Church, and the constraints of the billable hour.
It appears as though we’ve neglected an old institution here at Times & Seasons, the General Conference Open Thread. All apologies.
I linked to an article earlier that I have since decided is to good to leave just to the newsfeed. It’s from a Chicago Tribune religion reporter who is Jewish with Mormon relatives. In it, the reporter describes a rift that formed in her family after her great-uncle Al married a Mormon and then later converted to Mormonism himself. To a deeply Jewish family, this was difficult news to absorb, and, as a result, each side of the family ended up imputing bad motives and intents on the part other, leaving bitter feelings that took decades to reconcile. In the wake of all of this, the reporter writes about learning recently that her late (and staunchly Jewish) grandfather had been baptized in proxy by her Mormon relatives and her struggle to come to terms with this revelation: “I imagined my grandfather downright mad at the arrogance of presuming he would abandon what he had devoted his life to preserving. But when I told my mother about the baptism and braced myself for a flood of emotions, she surprised me. “Mom and Dad felt that any blessings bestowed upon them . . . long distance couldn’t hurt a thing,” she said…. My cousin said the baptism was done out of love, as a way to honor my grandparents. “It is the epitome of not forgetting somebody,” he said. It does come down to choice. We have the freedom to choose whether…
A little more than a year ago, Russell wrote a post commemorating Times and Seasons 2 millionth hit. A feat he said wasn’t bad “for a blog that doesn’t feature kittens or porn.” Looking back, he also noted that while “We’ve weathered storms and squalls, and some people have gone overboard… Still, old Times and Seasons lumbers onward.” Fifteen months, a few new shipmates, and another million readers later, it’s still plowing onward (with the occasional hiccup). Whatever success Times and Seasons has enjoyed along the way is due in large part to all of you who peek in on us once in awhile. So, to echo Russell once more, thanks… “to our [three] millionth reader, and our first, and everyone who has come in between.” Hopefully, we can keep you coming back for more.
Has the Church really made an unsolicited offer to buy Facebook (see here which spun off to here)?
I heard a story on This American Life a couple of weeks ago that has had me thinking about the reality of Satan and just what that means for us in our lives.