Author: Gordon Smith

From the Archives: Losing a Child

Today is my first son’s birthday. Last year on this day, I posted some recollections of our time with him. After reading Russell’s moving post about Tessa, I decided to bring my post out of the archives. You can find it here. My prayers go out to Tessa’s parents.

Simple Testimony

Last week my bishop encouraged us to read M. Russell Ballard’s talk “Pure Testimony” from last General Conference. I did, and it has caused me to reevaluate how I share my own testimony.

Should We Prefer Avarice to Piety in CEOs?

In an interesting editorial in today’s Chicago Tribune (reg. req’d), my friend Professor David Skeel of the University of Pennsylvania Law School discusses the use of faith as a defense to criminal charges by several prominent CEOs, including Bernard Ebbers of WorldCom Inc., Richard Scrushy of HealthSouth Corp., and Kenneth Lay of Enron Corp. David wonders, “How did it turn out that the leaders of three of the most scandal-ridden companies all publicly professed their faith?”

Fat Tuesday & Lent

Mardi Gras is early this year. Now I am scrambling to find a King Cake in Madison. I lived in Louisiana for one year, and I was fascinated by the Christian calendar. So how many of you, besides Kristine, are looking forward to Lent?

Academic Freedom & the Search for Truth

The University of Wisconsin takes great pride in its tradition of academic freedom. As a new professor, I was told repeatedly the story of Professor Richard T. Ely (watch the video), a labor economist who was accused by Oliver E. Wells, Wisconsin’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction and a member of the Board of Regents, of providing a moral justification for strikes and boycotts.

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.

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!

Picking Battles: Reflections on Parenting

As a father of two teenagers with three more children in the pipeline, I have received — and continue to receive — plenty of parenting advice. One bit of advice that I hear over and over is this: pick your battles. Standing in the middle of this experience, I haven’t yet decided whether this advice is merely self-evident encouragement, truly insightful parenting counsel, or complete hogwash. I am leaning toward the hogwash hypothesis.

Tithing Settlement

Last year at this time I posted on the topic of “Tithing Settlement.” Although I strive to avoid repetitive posting, I trust that most of our current readers were not around at the time, and I never received an answer to my question. So I am trying again.

Thanks, Jed!

Jed W.’s term as a guest blogger has come to a close, and I am sure that I speak for all us in thanking him for his insightful and provocative posts. I learned in Church today that Jed and his wife Shauna are expecting their first child next summer. The current debate in the W. household is whether to discover their child’s gender before the birth. I am quite certain that Jed and Shauna would appreciate your insights on this issue. In the meantime, best of luck to Jed. We hope that you will not be a stranger.


Yesterday the W$J ran a story on “microinequities” — “the subtle putdowns, snubs, dismissive gestures and sarcastic tones that can sap motivation.” Life is full of microinequities, and Church life is not a safe haven.

Times & Seasons Around the World

By adding Wilfried as a permablogger a few weeks ago, we not only gained an interesting colleague, but extended Times & Seasons beyond the borders of the United States. Over the past 24 hours, I have been tracking traffic at Times & Seasons to get a glimpse at our readership around the world. Here is what I found.

“Visitors Welcome”

CBS and NBC have refused to air an ad from the United Church of Christ on grounds that it is “too controversial.” The message of the advertisement is one that I hope we would embrace, but I am not so sanguine about that.

Ken Jennings Finally Stumbles

The streak is over: Ahead by $4,400 going into “Final Jeopardy,” Final Jeopardy!, Jennings stumbled on this Business and Industry clue: Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year. Jennings wrongly answered, “What is FedEx?” real estate agent Nancy Zerg of Ventura, Calif., responded, “What is H&R Block?” making her the new champ — and a likely future Jeopardy! answer. (She finished with $14,401; Jennings fell to $8,799.) Congratulations on a great run, Ken. For our 12 Questions with Ken, see here and here.