Author: Kaimi Wenger

Ladies first?

Some bloggernacle women were troubled by the order of the solemn assembly: First, the Priesthood voted (all the way down to the 12-year-olds); they were followed by the women’s organizations. In a comment at FMH, Exponent blog’s Maria notes, “By having women vote after the Aaronic priesthood, it seemed as if the implication was made that those 12 year old boys either preside over or are more important than the women of the RS, including the General RS presidency. Either way, the message is harmful. I worry about the way this could make women and young women in the church feel.” Is it inherently harmful to have women follow men in sustaining the leader?

Taking the Lord’s title in vain

The Third Commandment tells us not to take the Lord’s name in vain. And for some reason, this practice has become strongly ingrained in Mormon social norms — I can easily name a dozen Mormons who cuss like sailors and drop “F-bombs” regularly, but who would never dream of injecting a “God” or “Lord” into the sentence. But are we really getting it right? Is “God” really the Lord’s name, or is it just a title? And what exactly does the third commandment proscribe?

BYU Studies Chronology of Joseph Smith’s life

If you’re not a subscriber to BYU Studies (why not?), make haste to the bookstore and pick up a copy of the latest edition. It’s a nearly 200-page chronology of Joseph Smith’s life (transcribing the chronology available online at josephsmith.byu.edu ). In the print version, events are color-coded by category as well as being listed by date. To call this compilation “extremely useful” would be a vast understatement. Simply put, this is a tool that every member should have access to. The information has been available for some time online (in a relatively little known spot), but putting in in book form makes it much more accessible. You should pick extra copies up for your bishop, your father-in-law (*may not apply to John F. or Rosalynde), your home teaching companion. It’s gold. It’s very rare to see this combination of scholarship and information, on the one hand, with a presentation that is this accessible to everyday members. Kudos to the…

The Gospel of Kristine

As we’re all told in Sunday School, “Gospel” means “good news.” And it’s certainly good news that T&S emeritus (and current BCC) blogger Kristine Haglund is going to be taking over as editor of Dialogue.

Sunstone West

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, don’t forget to check out Sunstone West this weekend. Tonight’s program includes a showing of Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, and tomorrow’s program includes a list of speakers and presentations on some interesting-sounding topics. I hope to see some of you there.

Discovering Nuance

A few recent comments over at BCC have elaborated on a theme that one hears from time to time on the internet: “I didn’t get the whole scoop on LDS history while I was in Primary.”

More depressing news

Today’s news carries a deja vu article: Surveys show high rates of depression in Utah, and some psychiatrists wonder if Mormon culture is part of the cause. (The story runs under a pretty direct illustration that shows an apparently depressed woman and a photo of the temple in the background.)

Sleepless

A medical bleg from a bloggernacle regular in need: My oldest daughter is expecting her third child. She has not slept (except for three hours) in twelve days.

By Common Consent

Earlier this month, Thomas S. Monson was set apart. This coming conference, church members will be asked to sustain him as President of the church. And members will almost certainly sustain him. But what if they didn’t?

How to Date Your Spouse

A fascinating New York Times article discusses recent psychological data: “Using laboratory studies, real-world experiments and even brain-scan data, scientists can now offer long-married couples a simple prescription for rekindling the romantic love that brought them together in the first place. The solution? Reinventing date night.”

Bruce Young on Christians, Romney, and Voting

A pro-Huckabee blog recently(ish) set out the (now somewhat dated) argument that (non-Mormon) Christians have a Biblical duty not to vote for Mitt Romney. In response, Bruce (husband of blog-butterfly Margaret) Young wrote a short rebuttal piece. (He’s also a BYU professor of some renown.) I thought the discussion might be of interest (to the T&S community), and so with the permission of Bruce and Margaret Young (have you asked her about her movie lately?), I’m posting it here. My response (to Pastor Haisty’s argument that, according to John the apostle, Christians should not wish someone who believes in a “false Christ” well and should not welcome such a person into their home or any “house” that in some sense belongs to them):

The role of individuality in narratives about Mormonism

Some conversations I’ve had in the past months have touched on the idea of individuality. The concept can play surprisingly different roles in people’s narratives about Mormonism. For instance, some good friends who I’ve known for many years are in the process of leaving the church. Conversations with them sometimes discuss the idea of individuality. I would paraphrase some of their assertions along these lines: “Aspects of church doctrine and culture — important among them, the multiplicity of rules on everything from earrings or tattoos to alcohol, tithing, church attendance, and so on — force a type of conformity that prevents me from fully expressing my individual personality. Only outside the confines of Mormonism can I really be an individual.”

Under-Appreciated Hymns

When in the sultry glebe I faint, or on the thirsty mountain pant, To fertile vales and dewy meads, my weary, wandring steps he leads. Where peaceful rivers, soft and slow, amid the cooling verdant landscape flow.

Rape in Provo

90% of Provo rapes are not reported to the police. This is just one of many disturbing facts in a Deseret Morning News article about rape in Provo. (The article is a few years old according to its byline, but it showed up this morning as #3 on the “Most Popular Articles” list on the Deseret website — I’m not quite sure why.) According to the BYU police officer cited in the article, “most Provo residents are religious and have a tendency to stigmatize discussion of sexual assault and sometimes to demonize the survivor.”

Calumny May Defame

The wonderful folk at the Westboro Baptist Church have announced plans to picket President Hinckley’s funeral. These nutters — who are not affiliated with mainstream Baptists — are known for marching at U.S. soldier funerals with placards that read, “God Hates F***s.” Yesterday’s muddled press release (warning: the URL is itself offensive, and the press release is pretty bad) states that President Hinckley and Mormons generally are “[gay] enablers” and announces that therefore, “Gordon Hinckley is in Hell.”

“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names”

A nadir of correlated Old Testament study arrives in Week 25, when the Sunday School manual directs all of one week’s attention to the book of Psalms. Even this attention is focused largely on a handful of bright pearls — the comforting lines of The Lord is My Shepherd, for instance; and an array of creative, not always convincing Messianic parallels in Psalm 22. The rest of the book remains criminally unexplored.

Teaching and Sentencing

Teaching is like sentencing. After all, we all know that sitting though Sunday School can seem at times like cruel and unusual punishment. Also, in both areas, we see the same sorts of arguments in play, about the appropriate balance between predictability and flexibility.

Teaching the very familiar

The Elder’s Quorum this past Sunday was Lesson 1 from the Joseph Smith manual. It consists almost entirely of direct quotes from Joseph Smith-History, and it’s material that everyone in Elders Quorum has seen several dozen times. How do you go about teaching the very familiar?

Untold

Today is a good day to point out that the documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons will be playing in the next few weeks at film festivals in Dallas and San Diego. And possibly more places, depending in its success at those festivals. This very worthwhile project is the product of lots of effort by Darius Gray and bloggernacle regular Margaret Young. Keep us all posted on the progress of your film, Margaret.