Author: Julie M. Smith

I live in Austin, Texas, with my husband, Derrick, an electrical engineer. We have three boys: Simon ('98), Nathan ('01), and Truman ('04). We are a homeschooling family and I also teach at the LDS Institute here in Austin. I have a BA in English from UT Austin and an MA in Biblical Studies (Theology) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where I specialized in the study of women in the New Testament. I wrote my thesis on Mark 14:3-9, which I explored from literary and feminist perspectives to determine how the story teaches the audience about Jesus's identity. I wrote a book, Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels. It contains 4,000 questions (no answers) designed to get the LDS reader to really think about the scriptures and to introduce the major findings of biblical studies to the general reader. I like to read, buy books, and go out for ethnic food.

My Conversion Story

The reason that I don’t like to tell my conversion story is that it is boring. If I were to appropriate the famous Joseph Smith line, I would have to modify it thusly: “No man knows my history. . . . I don’t blame any one for not staying awake through my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have stayed awake through it myself.” So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Genesis 38

“Puzzling.” “Sordid.” “Audacious, provocative, and titillating.” Those descriptors might very well apply to this week’s box office sensation, but that’s not what this post is about. All of these terms (“Sordid” comes from the Institute Manual) were used to describe the tale told in Genesis 38.

Health Care: What to Do?

This from a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research Educational Trust: “The average cost of health insurance for a family of four has soared past $10,800 — exceeding the annual income of a minimum-wage earner, according to a survey released Wednesday.”

Thinking With Katrina

While my brother and his family are safe in Texas, it appears that all of their possessions and their home in New Orleans will be under water soon. What I am hearing now is that about half of ‘well-contructed homes’ will be destroyed and the city will not be habitable for weeks. One million may be left homeless.

A Letter to Emma Ray

While David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism is nearly perfect in every way, one thing it doesn’t do is provide an intimate portrait of President McKay. That lacuna is partially filled by Heart Petals: The Personal Correspondence of David Oman McKay to Emma Ray McKay.

Thank You, Kirsten

It’s time to say goodbye to Kirsten and thank her for being an oustanding guest blogger. I appreciate the way that she formulated potentially-explosive and oft-discussed topics in a fresh, creative way that led to great discussions. Thanks, Kirsten, and we hope you’ll continue to stop by and comment.

Blood on the Doorposts

Let’s call her Sister Jones. We both taught seminary in Northern California a few years ago. I liked her from day one: faithful, funny, and willing to lend out anything from her complete collection of Sunstone back issues. (This was in the days before full Internet access, you see.)

Flannel Board Lust

Who knew when I started reading salon.com’s new column ‘Object Lust’ that I would fall victim to this deadly sin? Who could have predicted that the object of my attraction would be a flannel board?

Guest Blogger: Kirsten M. Christensen

I’m pleased to introduce Kirsten M. Christensen as our newest guest blogger. Kirsten has a PhD in Germanic Studies from UT-Austin and has taught at Mount Holyoke College and Notre Dame and is now at Pacific Lutheran University. She’s married to Ted Warren (who may have the most interesting job of anyone I know) and she has two adorable, smart, precious boys, Grayson and Hal.

HFPE

Griping about endless crafts at Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment Meeting is a Bloggernacle staple. I’d like to try something different.

Family Fun: Temples

This Sunday is the dedication of the San Antonio Temple. My husband and I will get to participate in the dedication from our stake center, but it’s going to be one loooong day for my boys, who struggle with the Sabbath even when four hours of it is eaten up with Church meetings. So I’ve come up with a lengthy list of things they can do, with the hope of keeping them from eating the curtains and, oh yes, making the Temple dedication meaningful for them. I thought I’d go ahead and post the list for anyone looking for FHE or other ideas.