Author: Nate Oman

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah (autobiographical blogging here), and attended Brigham Young University from 1993 to 1999. Between 1994 and 1996, I served in the Korea Pusan Mission. While at BYU, I mainly studied political science and philosophy. (I was lucky enough to take several classes from T&S's Jim Faulconer.) I also took just enough economics to get myself in trouble. After graduation, I married the fabulous and incredible Heather Bennett (now Oman) and worked on Capitol Hill for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) while Heather finished graduate school at George Washington University. Beginning in 2000, I attended Harvard Law School, escaping with my JD in June, 2003. After practicing law for awhile, I became a law professor at William & Mary Law School. Somewhere along the line, Heather and I managed to have a son and a daughter.

What Does God Smell Like?

I like smells. I sniff my wife when she is not looking. (It really annoys her.) I came home from work late tonight and went in to look at my sleeping son. I bent down and kissed his brow and drank in the wonderful smell of a clean and sleeping little boy. For me smell is the most powerful trigger of memory. In short, I think that our noses are under appreciated organs and that smell is a big deal. So what does God smell like?

A Very Cool New Blog

Those wacky Mormons at Harvard Law School (and some that used to be) have started a new blog Harv. L. Saints (for those who missed the geeky law joke in the title, Harv. L. Rev. is the traditional abbreviation of the Harvard Law Review, the greatest law journal of all time, since followed by many knock-offs). The introductory posts include an attack on big firm practice by a defensive Mormon liberal (HLS abounds with defensive Mormon liberals. It is one of the things that I miss. They are so dang cute!) and an analysis of Intellectual Irreverence.

A Legal Primer on Same Sex Marriage

As Kaimi has already pointed out, today the San Francisco County Superior Court declared that Proposition 22, which defines marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman, unconstitutional under the California Constitution. My point in this post is not to open up a debate about same sex marriage, but rather to explain the legal issues in this — and other state cases — so that non-lawyers can understand what is going on in these opinions.

A Letter to a Righteous Gentile

The following is the (modified) text of a letter that I recently sent to a friend. I have no intention of revealing who he or she is or of posting his or her reply, but in the letter I ask some questions that might be of interest to the readers of this blog. I am certainly interested in your reactions.

Mormon Doctrine and the Path of the Law

Margaret Toscano’s recent remarks at UVSC have garnered a few bloggernacle links and generated an interesting discussion at DMI. I missed her remarks, but I did read her paper from a couple of issues ago in Sunstone, and was invited to respond to it here in a long ago comment. My response — not surprisingly — is disciplinary snobbery. I think that Toscano should go to law school.

A Powerful New Blog

She-who-must-be-obeyed (and some co-conspirators) have started a new blog ( entitled The Mormon Mommy Wars. Here is the mission statement, from She-who-must-be-obeyed:

Mormons and the Law, an Email

Yesterday, my father, who is a currator at the Church Museum in Salt Lake City, asked me to respond to an email that he had recieved from a young man that he had met through his work who was investigating the Church. The young man had heard his LDS girl friend declare that Mormons believe that one should always obey the law, but the young man had heard something about Mormon resistence to polygamy in the 19th century and thought that Mormons had taught that Mormon law always trumped Gentile law. What follows is the email that I wrote to him:

The Problems of the Great Apostasy

One the bed-rock doctrines of Mormonism (to the extent that we have any bed-rock doctrines) is that the church set up by Christ fell away from the true gospel, lost its priesthood authority, and slipped into apostasy. It seems to me that we have two fundamental problems with the doctrine of the Great Apostasy.

More Nibley Memorials: Online Articles

As a Nibley memorial, BYU Studies has created a page with links to free down loads of Nibley’s BYU Studies articles. Sunstone has a similar page set up. Also, BYU has set up a kind of electronic guestbook for Nibley. They are inviting people to send in their messages of appreciation to My understanding is that the messages sent to this address will be compiled and sent to the family.*

From the Archives: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Elder McConkie

I don’t think that I am alone among Mormons in having had very strong reactions to Elder Bruce R. McConkie. My sense is that his theological influence is on the wane, although I understand he continues to be very popular amongst some CES types. A while back, I blogged on my own process of making peace with Elder McConkie. (continue to original post…)

In Memory of the Metaphysical Elders

Lost in all of the buzz about the Bloggernacle Awards (I was tempted to make a big acceptance speech until I realized that I got only 21 of the votes cast for the category I won, meaning that the vast majority of the voting public was against me) was an interesting set of comments asking about which blog could claim the honor of first Mormon blog.

A Snap Shot in Numbers

OK. I know that this will mark me as a total geek, but I recently came across a copy of Census of 1850, which is the first census with information on Utah. The numbers provide a fun snap shot of the Mormon commonwealth three years after its founding.

12 Questions with Senator Robert F. Bennett

Our next installment of the 12 Questions series will be with Robert F. Bennett, the junior Senator from Utah. Senator Bennett, a Republican, was elected to the Senate in 1992. As Assitant Majority Whip, he is a member of the Republican leadership. Prior to his election, he was a business man, PR executive, lobbyist, and Congressional staffer. His own father, Wallace F. Bennett, served as Senator from Utah in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. He served his mission in Scotland, is a former bishop, and currently attends the Arlington Ward of the McLean, Virginia Stake. Senator Bennett has agreed to discuss Mormonism and politics. Please post your questions.

Contention and Argument

The Book of Mormon has a number of not so complimentary things to say about contention. Generally speaking, I have heard this interpreted as an admonition to be nice and change the subject if anything controversial comes up. My problem with this, of course, is that I am not especially nice, and I like controversy.

Superheros and the Sacrament

This evening, my wife (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed) and I were having an interesting discussion about the topic of her forthcoming Relief Society lesson. I thought that I would improve the average quality of the posts here by passing on her thoughts and questions. She writes:

From the Archives: Has Mormon History Taught Us Anything?

Times & Seasons has now been around for more than a year and in that time our readership has gone from a dozen or two visitors a day to somewhere between 1500 and 2000 visitors a day. Hence, there are some early posts that I suspect many readers never saw. Here is one post from those early days, that I think some of our new readers might be interested in. (continue to original post…)

The Failure of Times & Seasons or the Danger of the Daily Me

With the launching of Millennial Star, it now looks as though there are two group blogs that have more or less spun off from Times and Seasons, one of which tries to position itself to the “left” of T&S and one of which tries to position itself to the “right” of T&S. Or so it seems to me. Both blogs include bloggers who also blog at T&S (traitors!). Does any of this mean anything?