Author: Gordon Smith

Katrina Relief

I hope that each of us is praying and perhaps fasting for those who have been affected most directly by Katrina. As I thought about doing something more — specifically, donating to the relief effort — I wondered whether we could or should funnel donations through the Church. If not, what are the best options? Red Cross?

‘Til Death Do Us Part

When the topic turns to marriage, someone in Gospel Doctrine class inevitably refers with derision to that famous phrase from traditional marriage vows, “’til death do us part.” To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, “I do not think this [phrase] means what you think it means.”

BYU Football

As many of you know, BYU’s football team has been in a bit of a slump for the past three seasons. I am very encouraged, therefore, by the new coaching staff’s innovative efforts to recruit new players. Watch out, Utes!

Working for the Church: Calling or Job?

The discussion below under my post on Kim Clark is evolving toward this topic, which I have wondered about for a long time. During my short stint teaching at the MTC just after my mission, all of the MTC instructors were invited to a meeting with a General Authority. He asked us, “How many of you view your work at the MTC as a calling?” Almost all of the hands in the room were raised.

About Those “Other Sheep” …

In 3 Nephi 16:1-3, Jesus proclaims: And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister. For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them. But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them. Is there any passage of scripture that has led to more bizarre speculations than this? Who are those “other sheep”? And should we care?

Sex Ed

For me one of the enduring frustrations and perplexities of parenting children in public schools is the need to monitor sex education curricula. If you think that schools don’t need monitoring, you aren’t paying attention.


The pressure to give this book rave reviews is enormous. Everyone seems to love it (the Freakonomics website will lead you to plenty of positive reviews), and Steven Levitt is an undeniably brilliant economist — my hat’s off to anyone who wins the John Bates Clark Medal. But this is not a brilliant book. And not just because the title is stupid.

Baptism by Fire

I have a pretty simple understanding of the Gospel, and I rarely come across scriptures that can’t be accommodated to my existing world view (or dismissed as scrivener’s errors!). Recently, however, I read a verse in the Book of Mormon that stopped me in my tracks.

Your Teenager’s Journal … Online

This is a question from a friend who is looking for advice. He noticed that his teenage daughter had been spending a lot of time on a site called When he checked the internet browser’s history, he discovered that she keeps an online journal. Should he read it?

Sharing the Gospel Rewards Program

Rewards programs are all around us. Use your credit card, get frequent flier miles. Stay at a hotel, earn travel points. Buy 10 pizzas, get the next one free. If we want more converts, why not create a rewards program for sharing the Gospel? Not just eternal or psychic rewards, but immediate, tangible, worldly rewards. 10 converts = Trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center 50 converts = Dinner with President Hinckley It would work, wouldn’t it?

Cartoon Christian Rock

I still remember the first time I heard Christian rock music in the early 1980s. I thought it was awful and vaguely sacrilegious. Of course, since that time, many Christian rock groups have crossed over into the mainstream market and became straightforwardly sacrilegious (tic, sort of). Now prepare yourselves for the arrival of Christian rock’s answer to The Archies.

Religious Bigotry & Judicial Nominations

Cathy Young has a provocative editorial on the recent judicial confirmation kerfuffle. The quick primer: Democrats have been blocking President Bush’s judicial nominees at an unprecedented rate, and Republican Senators have begun to cry foul on grounds of religious bigotry.

Scripture Marking

Just for fun, I googled “marking scriptures.” The first three results are Mormon sites. Result #4 does not have anything to do with scripture marking, but is a Bible site that encourages bookmarking. Then it’s back to the Mormon sites. Only one other site in the Top 10 results is from another denomination.