Month: February 2006

Is Poverty Satanic?

One of the most important scriptural texts for the theological consideration of poverty is to be found in Alma 32. This chapter discusses Alma’s mission to the Zoramites. During a sermon on the hill Onidah, Alma is approached by a group of impoverished individuals who were “poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world” (v. 4). In effect, because of poverty and social exclusion, these people had become an ideal audience for Alma’s missionary efforts. So the question arises: Is poverty therefore a virtuous force, bringing people to Christ who would otherwise reject the gospel message?

Martha’s Sacrament

Martha was one of the older sisters in our branch. We counted a scant dozen of them, singles and widows, making more than half of the congregation and being its very backbone. When I got to know her, Martha was in her sixties. Huge by nature and strong from her lifelong labors as a market woman, she lived in a modest but sunny apartment, four flights high. Rent and utilities took most of her tiny pension, but she managed. Every Sunday the happy woman rode to church on her big black bicycle, rain or shine. She entered our old rowhouse as if it were a palace, beaming faith and friendship. In the living room, meaning our chapel, she gave talks and testimonies with a stentorian voice, developed during her years on the market place, praising Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon like she had exalted her Jonagolds and luscious tomatoes grown in the summer sun. Each time, at the end of her tribute, emotion would fracture her fluency to a choking whisper and tears would flow. Ah, Martha, what a force you were in our Primitive church! Then came the stroke, one night. Only hours later a neighbor heard…


I tend to enjoy using the blog aggregation services provided by sites like Mormon Archipelago and Planet LDS for one-stop shopping in my blog reading. For those of us who like aggregators, there is now further cause for rejoicing — a shiny new player has officially entered the burgeoning world of bloggernacle aggregators. New portal LDSelect features the standard menu of blog feeds and comment feeds, plus intriguing added options like box customization.

Hexing the Pentateuch

Accounting firms move by subtraction: The Big Eight becomes the Big Six becomes the Big Five Four Three Two; eventually we will hit the Big Zero and financial statements will be unaudited thereafter. The nacle trends in the other direction:

On the Brilliance of Hollow Slogans

Last week, a bizarre demand was thrust on me by a flier advertising a leadership training program: “BECOME YOURSELF!” the photocopied handout vigorously proclaimed. Who, I wondered, does this flier suppose that I am being right now? Obviously not J. Nelson-Seawright; otherwise, there would be no reason to request that I become J. N-S, would there? Perhaps I have, without quite realizing it, been impersonating Woody Allen? Or Gabriel Garcia Marquez?


That’s a 25 cent word if there ever was one, something for college kids to show Mom and Dad to prove they got something for their money, something a grad student to lord it over others with in the commons.

Quick and easy

In the past, we’ve discussed favorite recipes and particularly tasty meals. (Some of those recipes are well worth checking out). This thread will take a different tack: Let’s talk about some quick and easy recipes that the cook of the house can fire up when he needs ideas.

Thanks, J.!

We’ve enjoyed having J. Stapley as our guest for the past two weeks. Alas, now it is time to send him back to his home blog. Err, blogs. Thanks for guest blogging with us, J. Your fans will be pleased to know (or remember) that you’re still blogging at Bloggernacle Times, Splendid Sun, and some other blog.


There is no question that the earliest Saints held views of God and Heaven that were consistent with their protestant roots (1). Joseph’s visions continually transformed Mormon theology with the last months of his life capturing the most radical concepts in theogony and exaltation. He was martyred and his pyre was set against the creedal hall that enclosed God and His son. We are now left to search the Mississippi among the smoke and embers for the treasures he beheld.

Free speech versus respect for religion

The Islamic world is reacting angrily to the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper. Demonstrations, threats, flag burning, forcible closure of Western offices — we know the scary pictures. In defense of free speech and to show support for the Danish editors, newspapers in France, Italy, Spain and Germany have also published the cartoons, exacerbating the wrath of Muslims.

Congratulations Wilfried!

It is with no small amount of pride that we remind our readers that Wilfried Decoo, one of our permabloggers, has been voted Best Blogger of 2005 and that one of his posts has been voted the Best Blog of 2005 (here). Wilfried brings to each of his posts his gentle personality and his erudition. But the most important thing he brings is his memory and his ability to write about those vignettes of memory in a way that reaches us all. They are thought-provoking without being critical in the negative sense. They are moving without being saccharine. Thanks, Wilfried, and congratulations.