Author: Kaimi Wenger


Examining one subset of the question “Who would Jesus vote for?”, Josiah at Christus Victor notes: Alan Keyes says Jesus wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama. Well of course he wouldn’t. Jesus isn’t even a citizen of Illinois.

Barley for Mild Drinks?

A follow-up question occurred to be as I was looking over D & C 89:17 for my last post. A phrase jumped out at me, and I think it’s deserving of its own discussion. D & C 89:17 reads: 17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain. (emphasis added) Can someone please tell me what these “mild drinks” made from barley are, that we are supposed to drink?

Wheat for Man

Okay, we’ve previously touched on a number of Word of Wisdom topics: medicinal marijuana, chicken marsala, meat eating. And we all know about the tobacco and alcohol part. But what on earth are we to think of the strange grains list? In case you had forgotten it, D & C 89:16-17 reads:

Feminist Mormon Housewives

I just noticed this new LDS blog (“Feminist Mormon Housewives: angry activists with diapers to change“), maintained by two self-described feminist Mormon housewives. The blog has some funny and thoughtful posts, such as: –The Prozac Relief Society: “Is it just me, or does it seem like every LDS stay-at-home mother is on some anti-depresant or another?” (So that’s what they do in homemaking meeting!) -“sweet, innocent, and pure” — should a thirty-year-old mother take that characterization as a compliment? (Representative quote: “Is my purity really the best thing about me? I beg to differ.”). -and a post about being appreciated as an “independent thinker.” FMH looks like a great new (ish) addition to the bloggernacle!

Best Books for New LDS Converts

I live in a relatively mission-field ward, which has a lot of new members. Several months back, one member asked about reading material. I happened to have an extra copy of Truth Restored on the shelf, and it seemed like a good new-convert book, so I gave it to the new member. It was a big hit. Now, in interactions with other new members, I’m thinking I should get them some reading material. But where to start?

Pop Quiz: What Not to Do

Do you ever wonder exactly how you’re doing, as far as keeping the commandments goes? Well, now’s your chance to find out. Get out the pen and paper, and simply go down the following list of sins (from Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, at 25), checking off each infractions, to find out how you are doing:

Primary Songs: Articles of Faith, Part I

Today we’ll discuss a topic near to my own heart: Primary music. I come to this topic with no particular expertise, other than eight years as a primary and nursery pianist, in four different wards. I do, however, have some strong feelings on the subject. We’ll start with some ground rules. What should a primary song be? How should it sound? Perhaps those with more expertise can correct me (Kris, Jeremy, D.), but I’ve got a few ideas:

Seventies and Apologetics

I’m not really an apologist (if you want real apologetics, try Jeff Lindsay or Ben Spackman or Dan Peterson), but I just had a short, humorous, quasi-apologetic thought. I’ve seen a claim that the Book of Mormon can’t be true because it requires too many people. I believe the numbers used are generally those from Mormon 6: And we also beheld the ten thousand of my people who were led by my son Moroni. And behold, the ten thousand of Gidgiddonah had fallen, and he also in the midst. And Lamah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Gilgal had fallen with his ten thousand; and Limhah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Jeneum had fallen with his ten thousand; and Cumenihah, and Moronihah, and Antionum, and Shiblom, and Shem, and Josh, had fallen with their ten thousand each. That’s a lot of people — when you add in Mormon’s ten and the other ten in the next verse,…

Reminiscing about the Arizona Temple Youth Guides, and Mission Thoughts

A few weeks ago, a former church leader e-mailed me. We reminisced a little, it was fun. Then, he sent me the text of a letter I had sent him from the MTC. Talk about a blast from the past. It started me remembering a period of my life, a decade ago, and contemplating how I’ve changed since then. (Warning: Long personal discussion follows — ultimately enlightening, at least for me, but read on at your own risk). While in high school, I participated in a great program at the Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center. It was called the Youth Guide program. A group of about 80 youth participated at the time, as I recall. (I understand that it got a little larger in later years, and it was eventually discontinued). We trained as guides (learning a pre-written temple garden tour, as well as the commitment pattern) and we gave tours of the temple grounds. We worked in pairs, like missionaries.…

Bloggernacle Notes

We’re trying out a new feature, which (assuming Kaimi doesn’t break it again) could be quite useful: Bloggernacle notes. It’s on the sidebar, right here. The idea is that we’ll drop quick links to other blogs into the Bloggernacle Notes section (since it seems like those posts don’t usually generate much comment anyway) and free up more space for substantive posts.

Bloggernacking the Convention

Karen Hall blogs the convention, in true New York Post style. She’s got a Page Six section (with boldface names like Don King and Brooks & Dunn), a bit of politics, and not-one-but-two different discussions of possible public nudity. With Karen’s post, I think BCC has solidified its status as the New York Post of the bloggernacle (does that mean that Steve Evans is the bloggernacle Rupert Murdoch?). After all, how often can you go to any other Mormon group blog and read a sentence starting out “If I wanted to rip off my dress . . . “?

Happy Labor Day!

It’s that time of year again, when we get to celebrate labor by doing no work whatsoever. It’s a great idea. So I’ll be dutifully doing my part, and taking the family to a baseball game.

Washington D.C. Sex-Blogging

By now it’s pretty old news, but in case anyone missed it, a tempest in a teapot hit D.C. a few weeks ago. (That’s the Washington Post link, and it’s completely safe for work, thouh the text is a bit sex-oriented in topic). A young female Senate staff assistant named Jessica Cutler (she was a mail opener) was having flings with multiple, multiple men. And she blogged about it. Her blog was apparently meant to be an update on her social life, so her friends could keep up with it. By the time it became public, she had detailed her sexual encounters with a half-dozen men over the course of a few months. She was sleeping with co-workers, friends, rich Washingtonians who paid her in cash, and staid, married Republicans. She’s 26, and she now has a six-figure book deal and a contract with Playboy. I’m not completely sure what to think of Ms. Cutler’s widely-reported story. On the one…

Technical Update: Still Not 100%

Hi everyone, here’s the scoop — Things are back to _looking_ more or less normal. However, rebuilding is still on the blink (and I’m still not sure why). Comments will eventually show up, but you’ll get a 500 error, until I figure out what’s going on.

Thanks, Jeff!

We’ve been very happy to have had Jeff Lindsay as a guest blogger for the past two weeks. His posts were uniformly interesting and informative. Thanks for being a T & S guest blogger, Jeff! (And note that he can still be visited at his blog Mormanity, and it his own Cracked Planet website).

Sheri Dew at the Republican Convention

As many of us know, Sheri Dew was selected to give the invocation at the Republican National Convention. The prayer she gave, as transcribed, was rather simple and probably uncontroversial: Heavenly Father, we come before Thee as citizens who care about this nation to express our gratitude for this land of liberty where we have the freedom to live, vote, and worship as we choose. We are grateful for the evidence of Thy hand in the founding of this nation. We are grateful for every man and woman in uniform, and ask Thee to bless them and their families. We pray for the wisdom to protect and defend all families, for our nation is only as strong as its homes. We are grateful for a Commander in Chief who seeks Thy guidance. Wilt Thou bless him with wisdom and courage. We plead with Thee for peace and continued freedom-not only freedom from those who would terrorize us and encroach upon…

Praxy and Doxy

John Hatch continues his coup over at the liberalmediablog, with an interesting post on whether the church values orthodoxy (right belief) over orthopraxy (right action). John notes: If I don’t show up to help someone in Elder’s Quorum move, no one says a word. If I miss my home teaching, no one calls to chastise me. If I don’t sign up to do a cannery assignment, not a word of disapproval is uttered in my direction. . . . When I mentioned that the Melchizedek Priesthood was probably restored in 1830 and not 1829, two people were so angry I thought after Church they’d be heading to the hardware store to pick up torches and pitchforks. Why might heterodoxy be considered a greater threat than heteropraxy? (If it is indeed so considered, that is). My intuition is that it might be because heterodoxy looks like an active rebellion, while heteropraxy looks more like a natural process of decay. But it…

Technical note on Comments and Time Out

We get a lot of remarks about our wimpy little comment engine. It times out a lot. Sometimes people don’t realize this, and they double post (or triple, or quadruple, etc) a comment. I don’t know a way around this. I had previously thought that it was a result of the site being run by a bunch of lawyers in their spare time, with no real knowledge of programming or coding. However, I now think that it may just be a deeper MT problem. Over at Three Years of Hell, Anthony Rickey explains why MT sometimes tends to go out to lunch when posting a comment. Using the hypothetical of comments at Will Baude’s blog Crescat Sententia (a popular legal-oriented blog), he notes: Now imagine what happens if Mr. Baude writes a post to this category that attracts a lot of comments. Every time one of his readers adds their little bit of opinion, not only is 150K+ of homepage…

The Priesthood of Our Lord

I speak not of the actual priesthood, but of the hymn. Number 320, set for men’s voices, is (I believe) the only hymn in the current book which is “approved” (i.e., has a notation at the bottom) for singing in rounds. Which we did today, in Sacrament Meeting. Logan Bobo led the first group. He took about a third of the priesthood; I had about two thirds for my group. (The numerical superiority of my contingent didn’t come close to hiding the fact that Logan has, by far, the best male singing voice in the ward.) I thought it sounded pretty good, though. It was especially nice for our heavily-convert ward, where the music tends to be extremely plain-vanilla. The Priesthood of Our Lord is a fun hymn with a catchy tune, and it’s too bad that it is exiled to a relatively unused part of the hymnal. It capability for singing as a round is a cute added bonus.…

Bush-League Political Commentary

If Bush is a warmonger and Kerry is a flip-flopper, what is an LDS voter to do? Bo Gritz is nowhere to be found, and Cody Judy is out of the question. Alas, it is probably too late for Gordon B. Hinckley to mount a Joseph-Smith style LDS-prophet-for-president campaign. Thus, it’s clear that the only principled thing to do is . . . vote for Jim Faulconer as President! But for those who think that they must remain within the traditional Republican – Democrat dichotomy, there are some interesting goings-on in the political quarters of the bloggernacle. To wit, two political blogs (which have very different politics) have recently posted on the question of how LDS church members should evaluate Republican politics. The first post, at Political Juice, is here, and the blog will be running follow-up posts. A counterpost at LDS 4 Bush is located here. Enjoy!

The Place of the JST

Over at Intellectual Exhibitionist, Ryan Bell comments on a topic that I’ve wondered about on occasion: The Joseph Smith translation is not the official bible of the church. So we still rely on the KJV as the official word. This is exceedingly odd to me– we have one take on the Bible that’s the source of direct revelation to the head of our dispensation, and one that comes from a bunch of medieval scholars, and we go with the latter. Weird, but true. Exceedingly weird. I have over the years heard some potential rationales (many of which have come up over at Ryan’s blog): We don’t want our missionaries using “non-standard” scriptures for proselytizing; we don’t know how to deal with the incomplete nature of the JST; plus, the church doesn’t own the copyright. None of these have seemed particularly convincing to me. The church’s partial adoption of the JST (“we’ll put some passages in the footnotes, and a few…

National Abortion Federation v. Ashcroft and the Strange Career of Partial-Birth Abortion Bans

By now, most everyone has probably seen the district court decision invalidating the partial-birth abortion ban. It’s no surprise that the judge in that case invalidated the law. The law did not include an exception for cases where the health of the mother was threatened, and was thus (under pretty clear Supreme Court precedent) unconstitutional. There has been some interesting internet commentary about the propriety of the decision. Rob Vischer at the Mirror of Justice comments on Judge Casey’s role, as a Catholic judge, in the case. Vischer suggests that Judge Casey’s findings of fact may be helpful for pro-life advocates, despite the fact that the judge was bound by legal precedents. A similar, and surprisingly deferential, analysis was offered at the National Review. I wasn’t surprised to see the law invalidated. To me, the issue of partial-birth abortion has always been a good illustration of a characteristic of the pro-life movement, which depending on one’s political perspective may be…

“I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.”

We’ve previously discussed the state of Mormon film, and some of the bloggers have wondered wistfully when we’ll see a Mormon Kieslowski, Korosawa, or even Kubrick come along. Now, over at Let Your Mind Alone, J.D. Payne has expressed a different goal: to become a Mormon Woody Allen (minus the whole yucky Soon-Yi thing, one hopes). He has posted some ideas for a film script on his blog and asked for feedback. Readers with creativity and/or senses of humor may want to look it over. (The rest of us can now get back to work.)

Recent Change to the Political Neutrality Statement

Over at BCC, John Hatch points out an important new change to the church’s political neutrality statement. The statement has an additional new sentence, and it reads: In addition, members who hold public office should not give the impression they represent the Church as they work for solutions to social problems. John gives a detailed breakdown of some of the recent incidents of church legislators invoking church doctrine to justify legislation, and of the numerous statements issued by the church over the last year repudiating those legislators. This change drives home the point the the political neutrality statement is serious. The church doesn’t support Bush. It doesn’t support Kerry. It is neither Democrat nor Republican. And except in certain specific areas where the church has taken an explicit position (such as the ERA, or possibly the gay marriage amendment), it is probably wrong to suggest that church doctrine requires one to follow a particular political ideology. One need not be…

Subscribe to Sunstone as part of your ward’s missionary effort?

Kristine has the details. Does this mean that Sunstone subscription is part of the three-fold mission of the church? Will we soon be seeing mission callings extended to the Sunstone Symposium Mission? (Is that a foreign language mission?). “You have been called to the Sunstone Symposium mission, feminist-speaking. . .” (For many church members, that might indeed be a foreign language!).