Author: Kent Larsen

In the Eye of the Beholder

I learned earlier this week that the Church College of New Zealand is scheduled to close later this year, at the end of a 3-year-long process announced in June of 2006. What caught my attention, however, was a news report on opposition to the Church’s plan to dismantle the buildings that made up the school.

Going Social and Open Source

The LDS Church’s Chief Information Officer, Joel Dehlin, called for help Wednesday in a post titled Mormon Open Source Open for Business. The project seeks help with a number of LDS Church projects, including, first on the list, a rewrite of the software that runs the Stake and Ward Websites.

Anyone Know John William Yettaw?

Yettaw, who is Mormon according to several news reports, is now in detention in a Burmese jail. Worse, he has managed to get Burma‘s Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was nearing the end of house arrest under  a 6-year sentence, arrested also.

Mormon Mexico

For some time now I’ve been planning a series of posts looking at the LDS presence in different countries around the world. But unlike what has been done elsewhere, I want to find and present information that gives a view of what life may be like for most LDS Church members in that country. I also hope to give an idea of the development of Mormon culture in the country, mention a few of the well-known or notable citizens of that country who are Mormon, as well as a brief idea of the distribution and development of the Church in the country. In honor of the yesterday’s best-known Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo, I thought I would start with Mexico.

When Should the News Mention Religious Affiliation?

When I was a youth (pre-1978), a magazine article about the Church hit the newsstands in Washington D.C., and we, local members, were ecstatic with what we considered great coverage of the Church. So I was very surprised at the negative reaction of the missionaries in our ward. It seems that the article had a few negative things to say that we thought were minor (and accurate), and the missionaries felt were major derogatory statements that put the Church in a bad light. While the situation isn’t the same, I read a similar reaction yesterday, objecting to the mention in news articles of someone’s religion. In this case it is one I don’t agree with.

Compassion for the Unworthy

Can I remind us of something? The rhetoric here and elsewhere on the bloggernacle, the Internet, and evidently in the personal lives of some of us, seems all too often to be based on the idea that there is a worthiness test for compassion.

Own Worst Enemy

Its tempting to shrug off the news that Deseret Book has taken Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books off the shelves because of customer complaints. After all, Deseret Book has a right to run its business how it pleases. And as Clark Goble observes, in his comment on Beliefnet on this issue, it may be Deseret Book trying to differentiate itself from other bookstores. But I see a problem.

A Ponzi Scheme Trifecta?

Looking through the news over the past few days, I was surprised at the number of ponzi-schemes perpetrated by Mormons in the news these days. I’ve seen three in the news in the past week, two of which involved men who were Bishops at the time.

What Do We Mean by Non-Profit?

I heard the following story at Sam Wellers about some local LDS Church units and selling books. I don’t know when this happened or who it was — no doubt someone here knows the story better than I do, or knows of a similar story — but it strikes me as the kind of thing that happens sometimes among LDS Church members. It seems some stake along the Wasatch Front did their stake history, and after selling copies to everyone in the stake who wanted one, had a lot of leftover copies. So they packed them up in someone’s pickup and came into Salt Lake to sell them to the various book dealers, knowing that people who lived in their stake were now located all over the Wasatch Front. When the dealer asked how much the books cost, the stake representative quoted the retail price.

What Does it Mean When a Book is Mentioned in Conference?

Some time ago, I started putting together lists of the books mentioned and referenced in General Conference Talks. So during the Priesthood Session I started wondering what would be referenced in the printed version of Elder Eyring’s talk. The talk, titled “Man Down!” included Elder Eyring’s telling of a story widely known as “Black Hawk Down,” which has been both a bestselling book and an R-rated Hollywood movie. After the session, I began to wonder whether Elder Eyring’s talk would reference the movie or the book. I assumed it would reference the book, since the movie was rated R. I was wrong.

Notes From All Over – Comments

I’ve always liked our  posts allowing comments on the “Notes From All Over” in the sidebar. So I thought I’d try keeping it alive. Instead of simply leaving an open thread, I thought I’d number and give a summary of the items that appeared this past week:

Asking the Right Question

The news yesterday was that President Obama will hold a Passover Seder in the White House tonight, the first time a Seder has been held in the White House. So, who is going to ask him to hold Family Home Evening some Monday night?

Ecumenically Missing?

I came across a news item (here and here) this morning that gives background on the 25 members of the President’s Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and it made me wonder a little about LDS participation in this kind of group. Shouldn’t there be a Mormon on this council?

The Implied Statistical Report, 2008

Every General Conference, the LDS Church releases a statistical report that gives a brief window into how the Church has changed over the past year. With my accounting background, I’m a bit of a statistics wonk, and I’ve long thought that there is a lot that can be gleaned from these statistics and from the additional information published in the Deseret News Church Almanac. So this year, I thought I’d put together some statistics calculated from the figures that the Church gives out each year — a kind of report of the implications of the Church’s statistical report.

Sunday Afternoon Session Notes

Here’s a few thoughts on Sunday Afternoon’s session of conference. We encourage everyone to take notes during each session and post their thoughts in comments here.

Priesthood Session Notes

Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Afternoon’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also.

Saturday Afternoon Session Notes

Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Afternoon’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also.