Month: January 2005

Biting my Tongue

I just got back home after spending a week with family and friends in Arizona. These trips are always fun — seeing family members, playing with the kids, and so forth. They also result in a lot of interesting exchanges, which usually end up with me biting my tongue.

The Iraq Elections

I was up late last night, watching the coverage of the Iraq elections. My favorite image from the elections is here. We have talked about the war in Iraq from time to time on T&S, but no matter what you think of the war, you have to be pleased for the Iraqi people, don’t you? I mean, even the New York Times smiled for a moment. UPDATE: If you want to see the upbeat paragraph that the New York Times took out of its story on the elections, read Instapundit. This is really disgraceful on the part of the Times, in my opinion. UPDATE: For the other side of the NYT story, see here.

Not Coveting My Neighbor’s Wife (and other feminist concerns)

I’ve always thought that the rule against coveting my neighbor’s wife was a good one. It seems like a very useful sort of prophylactic measure against adultery. Coveting a neighbor’s wife is probably the initial act in many (or most) cases of eventual adultery. But as salutary as a find this commandment, I also wish it were phrased in a less misogynistic way.

The Millennium will have come by then

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during my first feeble attempts at writing science fiction, I sometimes encountered members of the Church who objected to science fiction about the future because “the Millennium will have come by then.” In their view, for me to write about something happening a hundred years from now was essentially a denial of faith — unless, of course, the story took place during the Millennium.


Sixty years ago the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Behind the barbed wires, many of the survivors could not stand on their feet to greet the liberators. The average weight of an adult was 77 pounds. Emaciated, with hollow eyes, those breathing skeletons, covered with a thin layer of tensed skin, only experienced a shift in their nightmare, for the nightmare of their memories would last for the rest of their lives. More than one million people had been murdered in Auschwitz alone.

Blatant Media Bias for Abortion

Monday I joined 200,000 people at the annual ‘March for Life’ to protest the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. My wife wasn’t feeling well enough to go this year (she’s pregnant — with twins!) and the weather accompanying Roe’s anniversary was typically frigid and miserable (if the Supreme Court was going to make such a colossal moral error, couldn’t they have at least done so in April?), so it was just my son and me. We were excited because the Family Research Council was distributing thousands of posters with my Created Equal logo and we hoped the signs might make it into the spartan coverage the march receives from the mainstream media.

The Divinity of the Church, Expressed as a Percentage

NOTE: I started this a few days ago, then decided it was dumb and put it aside. It may still be dumb, but it does seem relevant to how I think about the issues raised by Frank’s posting of Elder Eyring’s talk, and, I think it’s tangentially related to Nate’s Blogscar-nominated “On Authority” (for which you should all go vote at Intellecxhibitionist [sic]). And, alas, it should now be revised to begin, “My second-most-recent scuffle…” My latest scuffle with the longsuffering John Fowles has me thinking again about how to explain myself to people who think about the Church differently than I do, even if we feel similarly about it.

Benefiting from the Keys

Way back in the dawn of time, we had a rather lengthy discussion about the appropriate role of criticising Church leaders. Apparently this topic is still interesting enough to prompt comments, so I thought I’d put my two cents in. Actually, I thought I’d try to put in Elder Eyring’s two cents.

Snow Day

I just found out that my children will be home from school again tomorrow. Turns out that there’s no place to put the 3 feet of snow that fell on Saturday and Sunday.

The English Nature of the Mormon Constitution

The Church has a certain amount of constitutional law, by which I mean norms and rules that govern and control its institutional structure. What is the nature of this constitutional law? I would submit that the Church ends up being more English than American. Priesthood quorums illustrate why this is so.

Becoming a human being

Here’s some scientifictional thinking: At some point in the future, it is quite likely that doctors will be able to take a stem cell from an adult and use it to grow a replacement organ such as a kidney or heart.

From the Pulpit: Notes on Repentance

In the noble tradition of literary hacks who never miss an opportunity to recycle old material, here are the interesting bits of a sacrament meeting talk I delivered in church today. Repentance is, at its simplest, a turning away from sin and a returning to God.

Boiling Frogs

You undoubtedly have heard this metaphor: if you throw a frog into boiling water, it will jump out, but if you place the frog into cold water and turn up the heat, it will become accustomed to the increasing heat and eventually get cooked. Gross!

Sunday School Lesson 5

Lesson 5: D&C 6, D&C 8, D&C 9, Joseph Smith History 1:8–17 Those who are preparing lessons to teach should notice that the scriptural material for this lesson and for lesson 6 are almost identical.


We interrupt this week’s sparring match on gender roles to alert you to something truly momentous in the bloggernacle–get on over to The Impossible-to-Spell Blog to cast your votes in the 2004 Blogscar Awards!

The Road Less Traveled

The book that most influenced me when I was a lad was The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. I probably read it four times between ages 15 and 22. When the Book of the Month Club surveyed its members for the most influential book they’d ever read, it ranked number 3. (The bible and Atlas Shrugged were 1 and 2.) Several years ago a stake president in Sandy, Utah, challenged his whole stake to read it. Over the coming weeks I will post some selections to discuss. Today I’ll start with the famous opening.

Interesting Site: Urban Legends Repository

We all hear members who say “well, you can’t do X because there’s a letter from Spencer W. Kimball on it . . .” It’s an interesting problem — how to treat statements of dubious provenance such as ostensibly-from-the-leaders, no-longer-publicized statements. A related issue is finding out if these statements even really exist. A church member named David Bowie (no, not the rocker) has an interesting online collection of “Disputed Mormon Texts” — texts that may seem to be urban legends. Thus far, he has verified a few as authentic (like the 1910 statement on evolution) and a few as fraudulent probably incorrect (like the “Prophecy of a Catholic Priest”). Others, including purported official statements about birth control, decaffienated coffee, near-death experiences, and oral sex, remain in his “unverified either way” camp. It’s a fun place to see some common “are-they-official?” disputed texts.

The Rapid-Changed Role of the Book of Mormon

When looking through lists of scriptures most of cited in General Conference over the past 60 years, nothing is more remarkable than the rapid change in frequency of references to the Book of Mormon. The move toward the Book of Mormon could hardly be more pronounced. In just a few years, the Book of Mormon went from nowhere to everywhere. When President Benson spoke, General Conference speakers listened.

Ads Targeting the LDS Market

Since I often listen to KSL radio on the way to and from work, I tend to hear quite a bit of advertising aimed at members of the Church. Most of it is for products that are of little interest to non-members — LDS novels, for instance. But there are a couple of LDS-targeted ads that stood out because the products were of general interest. And I found myself appreciating one of those ads while disdaining the other.