I’m struck by the similarities in careers of so many bloggernackers (and probably bloggers in general). In fact, outside of four major groups, it’s fairly hard to think of others. The major categories are: The lawyers: Myself, Nate, Adam, Greg, Matt(?), Steve Evans, Aaron Brown, Dave Underhill, etc. The professors or students: Russell, Jim, Gordon, Adam when this blog started, Logan, Bob(?), Ben Huff, Ben Spackman, Melissa Proctor, Taylor Petrey, etc. The stay at home mothers: Kristine, Julie The techies: Clark Goble, Grasshopper, Eric Stone, Kim Siever That seems to largely cover it. Where are the doctors? The accountants? The bankers? The architects? They don’t seem to write Mormon blogs (or perhaps I just haven’t noticed them). A rare exception to the trend is our current guest blogger Jeff Lindsay. There have been a few other exceptions, such as frequent commenter Gary Cooper.
In an earlier post, Kristine mentioned the consternation felt by ward members who had to sing feminine-language hymns in a sacrament meeting. Was her experience an isolated incident? Grasshopper reports the result when his own ward sang (gasp!) As Sisters in Zion.
Don over at Nine Moons tackles the question of how we should treat “advice” from a church leader (Bishop, Stake President). In Don’s case, the advice was to get out of the movie business. Don asks: My question is: Is “advice” in an interview like this “counsel” that should be taken and obeyed? Or is it just an opinion that should be taken like anyone else’s opinion? That’s a tough question. It’s easy to say that we should take advice to read our scriptures, write in our journal, and do our home teaching. But I’m less certain of the proper course if your Bishop says, “I know you want to go to law school, Kaimi, but I think you need to go be a bus driver instead.”
Clark mentioned Pascal’s wager in a comment, and that reminded me of a thought I’ve had for some time: Pascal’s wager seems like a bad deal for Mormons. In case anyone is unfamiliar with Pascal’s wager, the basic idea is that God can either exist or not. If he does exist, then believers go to heaven. If he doesn’t, then it really doesn’t matter whether one believes. The smart money says to believe in God and take the x% chance of infinite happiness. How does this apply to Mormonism? Well, we have the added wrinkle of some pretty good second-best destinations. Thus, if one’s options are to either be a believing Mormon or a believing Catholic, and the two possibilities are that either Mormonism or Catholicism is true, the resulting chart of possibilities would look like this: —- Mormonism Correct Catholicism Correct Believing Mormon Celestial Kingdom Hell Believing Catholic Terrestrial Kingdom Heaven
I’ve always thought that one of the more fun and personal conference talks in recent years is Elder Wirthlin’s story about playing football against Whizzer White. Inspired by that story (and by the misery that acompanies focusing on baseball reality at present, given the current status of my Diamondbacks), I pondered this question: If the Lord fielded a baseball all-star team, composed of past and present great church leaders, who might be on it? (We’ll focus this on church leaders, so real athletes like Dale Murphy and Todd Heap are off the list). Here are some thoughts: First base: Mormon. We read about him, “And notwithstanding I being young, was large in stature.” Maybe I’m projecting too much into this, but Mormon strikes me as Mark McGwire without the andro questions, or possibly a Rafeal Palmeiro type. I can see him averaging 50 home runs and batting around .280, with 120 to 140 RBI, and he’s undoubtedly tough. Yeah, definitely…
New additions to the bloggernacle continue to proliferate. I imagine at some point we’ll have to find some new taskmasters and start forcing new bloggernackers to make bricks without straw. But for the moment, we’re happy to welcome them to the bloggernacle. On that note: Rusty Clifton, over at his new blog, Nine Moons, has written several quality posts of late. He has an interesting discussion of symbolism in Mormon art. He also wonders if God has a sense of humor. Rusty’s blog looks like a great addition to the bloggernacle!
I just noticed that a “BYU blogs” blog ring has been established by Nate Cardon. It’s currently a rather small blog ring, with three member blogs, but likely to grow (it’s only a few days old) and it sounds like a potentially interesting development in the bloggernacle.
Over on the unwritten rules thread, rabble-rousing Randy made a short comment about face cards: A couple of years back, a couple of kids brought some face cards to youth conference. (The audacity!) One of the stake youth leaders objected and asked a member of the stake presidency to confiscate them. This counselor in the stake presidency (a convert to the church not familiar with the so-called evil of face cards) consulted his GHI and quickly determined that there was nothing addressing the issue. He then told the youth leader that he had no intention of taking away the cards in the absence of some directive in the handbook. I must admit lack of knowledge in this area. I’ve heard from numerous church members that face cards are banned, or are evil. Randy’s comment seems to indicate that there is no official policy. What is the rule (if any) on cards? (No, not just suicidal kings). And does anyone have…
Davis Bell has posted a political breakdown of frequent bloggernackers. (Along with a few remarks about how T & S used to gross him out, but we’ll let those pass). Davis’s assessment is in, and it may (or may not) surprise anyone: I’m a liberal; Matt is a conservative; Nate is a cipher. The list includes quite a few well-known bloggernackers. Check out Davis’s list and (of course) register a complaint (with him, not me!) if you were left off or mischaracterized (he promises, err, prompt responses). A useful comparison tool may be found in this old T & S post, where many people posted their scores from a political quiz.
Over in a galaxy far, far away, rumor has it that a strange woman* has posted a brief report of her activities at the Sunstone symposium, along with sundry thoughts about Sunday School and correlation. Just in case anyone was wondering. *Not necessarily in the scriptural sense, but more in the sense of (to use her own term) “exceedingly weird.”
. . . but don’t throw a party to celebrate, please. CNN reports that on the newly-released annual list of top “party school” colleges in the nation (compiled by the college-ranking company Princeton Review): “Brigham Young University kept its title as top ‘stone-cold sober’ school.” And BYU students don’t do the funky chicken, either. Or get tattoos. Such are the sacrifices required to be number one.
Our new guest blogger is probably a familiar name to people who hang around the bloggernacle. Jeff Lindsay, based out of Wisconsin, operates the LDS apologetics blog Mormanity. He also maintains a web site on LDS topics, including a Book of Mormon Evidences page and LDS FAQ. There is additional biographical information at Jeff’s website. Jeff’s discussions and comments are always interesting. We’re looking forward to reading his posts here.
I should note a few recent additions to the bloggernacle. -Frequent commenter John Fowles recently started a blog, which so far has mostly dealt with politics and religion. I disagree with John sometimes, but his blog is definitely not uninteresting. Check out A Birds Eye View. -Another new addition is Ebeneezer Orthodoxy, a blog about church “doctrine, organization, practices and its influence on and relationship to society.” So far, Ebeneezer has posted a series of interesting discussions on stewardship, priesthood, and obedience. Check out Ebneezer Orthodoxy. -In the “Journal Blogs” section (which I don’t always frequent), Jenna’s blog (self-description: “Don’t mistake me for one of those feminist nuts”) deals with life at BYU, and includes frequent discussion of other blogs in the bloggernacle. Check out “You Too!”
The trial court in Reynolds v. United States gave the following jury charge, which the Supreme Court later found was proper and not inflammatory. I think it not improper, in the discharge of your duties in this case, that you should consider what are to be the consequences to the innocent victims of this delusion. As this contest goes on, they multiply, and there are pure-minded women and there are innocent children, innocent in a sense even beyond the degree of the innocence of childhood itself. These are to be the sufferers; and as jurors fail to do their duty, and as these cases come up in the Territory of Utah, just so do these victims multiply and spread themselves over the land. It’s a fascinating snapshot of the ideas and prejudices of the time — Note that polygamy (or is it the church itself?) is referred to as “this delusion.” The jury, not surprisingly, convicted, leading to the Supreme…
I don’t have any belief in real effects caused by Friday the 13th. (Other than in Nethack, of course). But it is a fun reminder of more superstitious days and beliefs. Or is it something more? In any case, happy Friday the 13th!
And now back to our regularly scheduled, “all gay marriage, all the time” programming: California high court voids same-sex marriages. UPDATE: Decision text here (via NY Times).
Via Dave’s, I noticed a Dan Peterson FAIR Conference paper with a fun anecdote: Let me tell you about an experience I had a few years ago. I was invited to do a Muslim/Mormon dialogue up at Idaho State in Pocatello. . . . The closer it got, the more awkward I felt about this upcoming “dialogue.” There were just some things about it that didn’t add up, and I began to feel that something was seriously wrong. When I got there I realized that it was. The room was absolutely jammed with Muslim anti-Mormon tracts. I hadn’t even known that such a thing existed. I can report to you, by the way, that they weren’t very good. They need to take a page from some of our Evangelical critics who can mount much better arguments than the ones they had. Nevertheless, it was a first step and you have to admire them for trying.
Bob Caswell has an interesting comment over at Meg Kurtz’s new Book of Mormon blog. Bob writes of Lehi: Wouldn’t you be angry if a random person in your town claiming to be a prophet came to you and “testified” of your “wickedness and abominations”? Maybe this is the way the Lord wanted it, but I have to think there could have been a more tactful way if Lehi REALLY wanted people to listen to him. Bottom line: I’m glad I didn’t live in Jerusalem at the time because I probably would have been annoyed at Lehi (big mistake!). Bob has a point — where is the commitment pattern, the “building relationships of trust,” the rest of the missionary toolbox that we use today? Condemnatory prophecy — “Hey, Bob, I testify to you that you are wicked!” — doesn’t seem to be the most effective missionary tool. Why do they seem to use it so much in the scriptures?
This month’s Atlantic brings an interesting article on papal succession. Paul Elie discusses (paid subscription required) the politics, factional infighting, and expectations governing papal succession — a topic which may be becoming increasingly relevant, nearly thirty years after the election of John Paul II. Elie, however, concludes by discounting all of the other factors and suggesting that: The cardinal electors . . . will ask first of all how authentic the faith of that man of faith is — how high his hopes, how deep his depths. They will ponder his character . . . . They will ask, What kind of believer is he? We believe, of course, that there are worlds of theological difference between the election of a Pope and the choice of a new apostle. But it seems to me that, when the church leaders meet to select two new apostles, many of the same questions will be asked. Politics may be relevant, and factional support…
I know that we’re all in the middle of something here, but I thought that I should interrupt everything in mid-action to announce that T & S blogger Russell Arben Fox has moved his solo blogging from his old digs at Waldchem vom Philosophenweg to a spiffy new place called: In Medias Res. That’s Spanish, by the way, for “in stockings beef.” (Really, it is.) I’m told it has a Latin definition too, and if I weren’t in the middle of something right now, I might try looking it up. Anyway, welcome to your new home, Russell! (And good luck keeping that beef in stockings — doesn’t sound like the best storage system, if you ask me!).
Those who pay attention to our Site Meter on the sidebar may have noticed the passage today of a milestone: 144,000. Why is this important? Well, as we all know, the Apocalyse tells us that: “I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” What does this mean for latecomers? It means, quite simply, that the quota has been filled. Thanks for playing. But wait!
For those visitors who have come here because of Peggy Fletcher Stack’s story in the Tribune, our earlier discussion about apostolic succession has moved off of the front page, and the post is located HERE. Feel free to look around and comment on any of the posts. (Note: Abusive comments are not permitted, see here for our comment policies.) Thanks for visiting!
And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony we give, concerning the three degrees of glory in New York City: The first and greatest kingdom is the celestial, or in other words, Manhattan. These are they who received the high salaries of law firms and investment banks. These are they who have overcome by faith the lousy housing market. These are they into whose hands the Father has given an understanding of Craigs List. They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of the locations of no-broker’s fee apartments; Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether rent control, or rent stabilization. These are they with ten-minute walking commutes and twenty-four-hour doormen. These shall dwell in the presence of Zabars and Citarella forever and ever. These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun.
With all of the fuss lately over marriage, it can be fun to think back to the good old days. The years prior to 1908, for instance — when temple marriage was a disqualification for voting or office-holding in one heavily Mormon state.
I’ve gotten a complaint that our blogroll is full of blogs that haven’t been updated in months or are now defunct. That’s a definite possibility, alas. I haven’t been keeping up the blogroll particularly well. I’m going to do a little bit of pruning over the next week or so. I’ll be removing blogs that don’t appear to be updated regularly (at least monthly). In the mean time, you’ve got a blog you would like us to consider adding to the blogroll, please let me know. If I mistakenly remove your active blog, let me know. And ditto for any other comments or complaints.
I’ve noticed two different posts recently in the bloggernacle that touch on the same theme: Non-Mormon women think that Mormon women are repressed and considered inferior to men, while educated and articulate (and believing) Mormon women are horrified at these broad characterizations. Janelle at Let Your Mind Alone writes of a conversation with a co-worker who told her that “Mormon women are bred to consider themselves inferior to their husbands.” Janelle was appalled at a broad characterization that potentially includes her, but discusses in her post how many Mormon women do seem to give an impression of inferiority. Jennifer Jensen at BCC writes of a conversation she had with a woman she met while traveling. “When I told her I am Mormon she was quite shocked. She asked me how I could be so educated and part of such a sexist church, thus allowing myself to be repressed.” Jennifer, of course, replied with a strong rebuttal — an argument which…
The Winter 2004 issue of the BYU Journal of Public Law will include articles presented at a recent symposium on same-sex marriage. Apparently, some of the articles are pro-SSM. The Journal’s web page contains the disclaimer: We wish to remind our readers that the viewpoints expressed in the articles, notes, and comments published in the Journal of Public Law are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Journal, Brigham Young University, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For information about the official position of the LDS Church on this subject, please visit www.lds.org. The symposium issue looks like it may be interesting for people who follow the SSM debate — which judging by our sidebar includes many T & S commenters.
A reader e-mailed in to say that he’s received e-mail spam for the Nigerian scam on an e-mail account that he uses exclusively for Times and Seasons posting. Two warnings are in order for readers. First, if there was any question about whether spam spiders (programs used to harvest e-mail addresses off the web) would find T & S, that question has been concretely answered. Spam spiders will harvest addresses from anywhere they find, and they’ve found us. There’s not anything that we can do about this on the blog side. As a general matter, you shouldn’t put an e-mail address on the web if you’re not prepared for it to eventually become known to the public, including spammers. To avoid spam, many people use a separate e-mail account — you can open free ones at places like Hotmail and Yahoo, and many ISPs, like Earthlink or AOL, will give you a bunch of free extra addresses. Also, make sure…
Both Dave’s and the Mormon Wasp have noted the recent press accounts about Krakauer (yes, that Krakauer) working to assist the teenage boys who are routinely expelled from the polygamous FLDS community in order to keep the proper male-to-female ratio. The plight of the “Lost Boys” who are expelled from the FLDS is troubling, and it’s nice to see that Krakauer is doing what he can (along with others) to help them make the transition into the real world.
We’ve probably been remiss not to note this new bloggernacle development: Blogger and uber-commenter Clark Goble has started a reading club. He’s working through chapters of McMurrin and Ostler at the moment. He’s given these works a nicely detailed discussion so far. Clark’s first installment, covering pages from McMurrin, is available here. His second installment, covering the beginning of Ostler, is here. And Dave, over at the Mormon Inquiry blog, has posted his own responses to Clark’s McMurrin post here. Readers who are interested in philosophy or theology of Mormonism are likely to be interested in Clark’s and Dave’s discussions.