My Love, You’re probably surprised to get this letter from me after all these years. Communicating with you has always been a chore due to your aversion to technology (a characteristic I still find profoundly endearing) but I’m hopeful you may someday find this blog and know how I feel. I’ve been thinking about you lately and I miss you.
Times and Seasons bids farewell with thanks to our most recent guestblogger, and is pleased to announce that next up is Rusty Clifton, proprietor of the fine blog, Nine Moons.
Provo temple. The room is full, waiting for the session to start. Soothing silence in this sea of white.
We begin with a quiz: How many book-length biographies of LDS women can you name? . . .
Lesson 10: Genesis 24-29
Utah has a very high rate of bankruptcy. In 2000 it hovered at around 7 filings per thousand people– twice the national average. This lonely fact has launched a thousand explanations for why Mormons have such a problem with defaulting on their creditors. Clearly, the thinking seems to be, this shows some of the rot in the Kingdom. Just as clearly, this view has very little support in the data.
Dr. Richard E. Bennett, Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, will be the featured speaker at the Miller-Eccles Study Group tonight, February 24, and tomorrow night, February 25, at two locations in Southern California on the topic of 19th Century American militias and Mormon militias.
Rod Dreher has a new book out, all about a new countercultural movement which he describes as “crunchy conservatism”–or, as his subtitle eloquently puts it, “How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party).”
A French commission set up by the French National Assembly has concluded that homosexual marriage, adoption by homosexual couples, and medically assisted procreation for homosexual couples should not be permitted by law because they undermine children’s rights.
In the 1990s, Carol Nielson inherited a quilt. Or, to be more precise, half a quilt. . .
One of the fun aspects of physics is wave-particle duality: Light behaves as both a wave and a particle.
I’m a keepsake person. I always have been.
Jesus is the Bread of Life: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” How much do we value that promise in an Atkins world?
I have envy — calling envy. Yes, that’s a sin that’s endemic to Mormonism. Unlike some others, I don’t really want to be a bishop or a stake president of a general authority. I’m deeply jealous, however, of people who regularly get to participate in singing time.
Lesson 9: Abraham 1; Genesis 15-17, 21-22
“God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” This was an argument I used often (and with relatively high success) as a missionary. God spoke to prophets in the past; God is unchanging; therefore, God speaks to prophets now. Is it really that simple?
So what do we do with the JST?
Last night at 6:30 PM Pacific time, most members of my family dialed in to a conference call to Provo, Utah—to the lobby of Stover Hall on BYU campus, to be specific. My brother Benjamin—seventh child, sixth freshman at BYU, fifth missionary, third son, and a few days shy of nineteen—was about to open his mission call.
The most recent lesson in the Wilford Woodruff manual contains a quote from a general conference sermon given by Woodruff on April 6, 1872: The Lord never created this world at random; he has never done any of his work at random. The earth was created for certain purposes; and one of these purposes was its final redemption, and the establishment of his government and kingdom upon it in the latter days, to prepare it for the reign of the lord Jesus Christ, whose right it is to reign. That set time has come, that dispensation is before us, we are living in the midst of it.
Valentine’s Day 1996 found my own life in an interesting state of flux.
So here is the case for thinking that when the crowd outside of Lot’s house asks to know Lot’s guests (Genesis 19:5) that what it means is just, like, know and not, you know, like, know.
The high point in my Church career so far came at age two, when I stood and recited the first four Articles of Faith from memory in Sacrament Meeting . Alas, early precocity did not usher in mature perspicacity, and I confess that these days, while I can still recite most of the Articles as stand-alones with some accuracy, I’m hard pressed to string them together in any recognizable series. (I can, however, rattle off all the books of the Old Testament in order to the tune of “Praise to the Man,” thanks to the heroic efforts of my Sunday School 14 teacher.)
Lesson 8: Genesis 13-14, 18-19
I have a friend –I know her through the homeschooling community–with an interest in the Church. She told me that one of the books that she read about the church was Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. Now, she’s not stupid–she didn’t expect it to be unbiased–but she did want to know my reaction to it. So I read it and then sent her this email:
This [very, very, very long] post is, basically, my masters thesis. I’ve had a few requests for it, so I thought I’d post it.
Melissa and the girls and I watched the opening ceremonies for the 2006 Olympics last night, and we’ll no doubt watch quite a bit more over the next two weeks. The spectacle, the drama, the stories of striving and succeeding and failing get to us every time. As I wrote before, as I watch these contests I find myself wondering just what is and isn’t praiseworthy about the drive to excel. That performing at such a high level invites all sorts of temptations, and often generates a mindset towards others that is anything but compassionate and charitable, is obvious….and yet, if God has given us bodies that can do beautiful and graceful and marvelous things, how can the desire felt by those who have such gifts to perfect them, to take them to the very limit, be anything but good? Back in 2004, there was an Olympic hopeful in our ward, and his example helped me see things in a slightly different light. Read what I wrote and what others commented about him–and the games themselves–here. Or, talk about these Olympics if you prefer. For our part, we’ll be cheering on Matt Savoie, a local Peoria boy and true amateur…