Regular visitors to this blog will recognize Kristine as the outspoken, ABBA-loving, mother of three who currently has a vice grip on second place (among non-bloggers) in the Comments sweepstakes. Just this week, I learned that Kristine’s brother Rich was my student two years ago at Vanderbilt Law School. While living in Tennessee, I also met Kristine’s father, who is a Professor of Physics at Vanderbilt. Having spent several years in Germany in her youth, Kristine was naturally drawn to the study of all things German at Harvard (A.B.) and Michigan (M.A.). She tells me that her youngest child will be in preschool three mornings a week next fall, so she is considering a move back to school to finish her Ph.D., “though not in German — something more practical, like history or religion.” (That last comment being partly TIC, I think.) She has also been a Summer Fellow (2003) at the Smith Institute of Church History. We are all…
There has been quite a bit of discussion, some here and some on the LDS-law list, about street preachers and garment desecration. But it seems like everyone is missing the obvious question: What would Coase do?
We’ve had several discussions about essential texts in Mormon studies; see here, here, here, here and here. I was hoping we could generate a list, or at least some productive discussion, about a topic we haven’t yet addressed — the great Mormon biographies and autobiographies.
A while back on an abortion-related thread, one commenter broughtup the old idea that abortion rights could suggest conjoined twins might have a right to kill the twin. That line of argument may no longer be dealing in hypotheticals. Doctors are now preparing to remove the second head from an infant born with two heads. The second head, while not attached to a body of its own, has a partially formed brain, eyes, ears, and lips, and its mouth moves when the baby breast-feeds.
It suddenly occured to me last night that our group’s marital homogeneity is rather striking. Consider: We have eight bloggers; we live in different locations; we come from different professions; we have different political beliefs; we find a lot to differ on. We are all married and all have children. (See documentation for Nate, Russell, Kaimi, Adam, Jim,Gordon; Matt’s status is documented on a family webpage that I’ve seen, but don’t know if he wants linked on the public site; I don’t believe Greg has any online documentation, but I can attest to his marital-parental status, having been in his ward for years).
I just took the entertaining “Belief System Selector” (what religion are you?) online quiz (link via Minnow’s Pond). And the results are in: I’m not really a Mormon! According to the quiz, I match up to: 1. Mainline – Liberal Christian Protestants (100%) 2. Mainline – Conservative Christian Protestant (93%) 3. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (92%) 4. Jehovah’s Witness (83%) 5. Orthodox Quaker (77%) 6. Eastern Orthodox (69%) 7. Roman Catholic (69%) 8. Seventh Day Adventist (68%) 9. Liberal Quakers (65%) 10. Bahá’í Faith (63%) Hmm, I wonder if that means I can’t be in the Elders Quorum presidency any more. But seriously, perhaps the most interesting result was that Jehovah’s Witness scored so high for me. Mindi had a similarly high JW score (93%). Are Mormon and JW belief systems really that similar?
The new group blog Mirror of Justice promises to be “A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.” And some very smart people are blogging there. It’s probably worth keeping an eye on, as it could be very interesting.
In one of the comments below, Judy Miller of the Utah State government asked about the image of the prisoners in our masthead. A large, framed version of this photograph hangs in my office, so I thought I would say a little about it.
If you scroll down our list of links, you will find one to Operation Give (the “Give Toys to Iraq” button), which was set up by Matt and a national guardsman from Utah to provide charity to Iraqi children. This morning at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Bush praised the work of Operation Give.
According to the Lycos 50, which tracks internet usage, the unfortunate incident in the Super Bowl halftime (involving Janet Jackson and some very poor sartorial decisions) may have set a record for the most-searched event in internet history. Janet beat several other high-search events, garnering, for example, five times as many web searches as the Columbia explosion. Apparently the only possible contender for most-searched event is September 11. The calculation is tricky, but in the aggregate, the events appear to have generated about equivalent search traffic. Aaron Schatz writes on Lycos 50: “Prior to this week, the most-searched event in the history of the Lycos 50 over a one-day period was the September 11 attack on America. Although it is very difficult to compare searches for the two events, it looks like the Super Bowl halftime show was the equal of September 11 when it comes to Internet attention. That is, to put it bluntly, mind-blowing.” Yes, it is.
According to the Deseret News, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is considering a city ordinance that would ban some of the more extreme street preaching around Temple Square.
You remember the case: Mormon acting student at the University of Utah files suit because she felt that her free speech and free exercise rights were violated by her acting teachers’ requirement that she say f–k and g—–m in classroom performances. The federal district court tossed the suit, but the student just won her appeal, keeping the case alive (caveat clicker: the court’s opinion contains profanities) .
I was just checking over our site statistics. We seem to have settled into a groove of about 250 to 300 unique visitors per day. Our readership continues to be disproportianately concentrated in the Eastern United States. However, as the map below indicates, five percent of our recent visitors seem to be coming to us from Pakistan.
As Mormons we often like to speak as though we have a well settled body of doctrine that provides determinate answers to some set of questions, but is silent as to other questions. Thus, someone makes some comment in Sunday School with which we disagree, and we are able to say, “Well that is your opinion, but it is not church doctrine.” My question is how do I figure out if something is church doctrine or not.
I’ve felt rather guilty about not posting more during my guest stint here. My e-mail has been on the fritz, I have been out of town, and . . . Well, anyway, even though it’s really late at the moment, I simply have to post something to salve my conscience.
We believe that Lucifer, the Son of the Morning (Isaiah 14:12), fell while still in the premortal existence. This fall resulted in Lucifer being eternally deprived of a physical body. Ultimately, he will dwell in Outer Darkness, where there is “weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” (Alma 40:13) In the meantime, Lucifer, and the spirits who followed him in the War in Heaven (Revelation 12:7), play a role in the Plan of Salvation, for “it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet.” (D&C 29:39)
One thing that has always fascinated me is the tension in the church between faith and proof. We tell people they should pray about the Book of Mormon and receive a testimony of its truth and of the prophet Joseph Smith. And then we spend lots of time and energy trying to prove that they are true. What do we use as proof? The Lehi stone. Chiasm. The health benefits of the Word of Wisdom. The Civil War beginning in South Carolina. And a thousand whispered rumors like the idea that the Dead Sea scrolls contain the prophecies of Lehi.
Lesson 6: 2 Nephi 1-2 If you know me or a little about me, such as that I’m a philosophy professor, you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m going to focus on chapter 2. I recognize that is a problem. Chapter 2 is full of such interesting material that chapter 1 gets overlooked and there are also interesting things to think about in it, such as what implications it has that the land to which Lehi was led is covenanted to “all those who should be led out of countries by the hand of the Lord.” In spite of that, I’m going to focus on chapter 2, and not all of that chapter either.
I have frequently heard people make the claim that there are no Mormon monks. This may be true, but as I was reading a book on medieval legal history this weekend, I was struck by the fact that Mormon monasticism is quite common.
According to researchers at Harvard, the religiosity of a country is a good predictor of it’s economic growth. The New York Times story is here.
Since we’ve been talking so much about Mormon art lately–particularly literature, but also in our liturgy and environment, and in our films–I thought it was time to drop the other shoe, set aside issues of aesthetics and ethics for the moment, and do what every likes best: make lists.
Recently, through Times & Seasons, I reconnected with a friend from BYU and Law School. Sean Lindsay is now working as an attorney for Qwest in Denver. We first met at BYU, where both of us worked as tutors in the Reading and Writing Center along with another law school classmate, Shawn Bentley. (Just a side note: the Director of the Reading and Writing Center at that time was a kind professor named William Shakespeare!) By the time that I was deciding where to attend law school, Sean had left BYU and was pursuing a Ph.D in English at the University of Chicago.
My Seminary class just completed 1 Samuel, which tells the story of Saul’s reign over Israel. As you know, the people of Israel demanded a king to replace the corrupt judges. (1 Samuel 8:19-20) Samuel was inspired to choose Saul. On the day before they met for the first time, the Lord told Samuel, “To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel.” (1 Samuel 9:16) Samuel does, in fact, annoint Saul, and the people accept him as their king. (1 Samuel 10)
A while ago we had some discussion about a popular question among church members: why there are not more great LDS writers, more “Mormon Shakespeares.” Various ideas were suggested, among them that church callings take up too much time for a nascent Mormon Shakespeare to begin filling up her folios. Let me articulate another reason, hinted at (but not explicitly discussed) in the earlier thread: Church members have an Iago Problem. We are generally incapable of creating believable truly evil characters. We just don’t have the skill set to breathe life into an Iago. And without Iago, there can be no Shakespeare.
Hi everyone. We just switched servers — what a headache! Hopefully this looks exactly the same as the old place. A few things to note: 1. Timesandseasons.org e-mail will be temporarily down. You can e-mail me at kaimi *at* wengerfamily.com . Look for everyone else’s e-mails (if you want to e-mail them) on their personal blog site or description. 2. The domain name (DNS) is not fully resolved, and it seems to still be pointing at the other site sometimes. Since the DNS was being wacky, I set up a redirector at the old host, so you should end up here anyway. :) The only difference will be the address bar, and even that should return to normal once the DNS settles down. 3. There will probably be little bugs here and there — let me know of any you come across, we’ll get them resolved.
It looks like “The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology” has finally decied to go public. You can check out their new website (very slick) at www.smpt.org. In addition, they will be sponsoring a conference at UVSC on March 19-20 on Mormon Theology. (link here) As a lawyer, I thought it is interesting that one of the things that they cite as spurring the formation of their society is the increased awareness of the importance of the 19th century Mormon experience for the constitutional interpretation of religious freedom. Note: T&S’s Jim Faulconer is the chairman of this august organization.
There has been an interesting discussion of guilt over at Bob and Logan’s blog. In response to some comments that I made, Russell makes the following intriguing remark:
Our very own Russell Arben Fox, who has endorsed Dick Gephardt on this site, is flirting with not thinking that Bush is the Great Satan. If I may over simplify Russell’s comments in a really gauche way, it seems that since Bush has been coming out in favor of spending lots of money on good stuff, that he seems (in policy terms) to be migrating toward Russell’s preferred position of social conservatism and economic egalatarianism. Of course, Bush isn’t quite there, but Rusell (and my friend David Bernstein) make an interesting point.
Shortly before his death Joseph Smith began making plans to move the main body of the Saints to someplace in the American west. After his assination, Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve continued to flesh out these plans, ultimately choosing to move the Saints to the Great Basin. In making their plans they depended on the reports of John C. Fremont and on the maps of the American west that his expeditions had created. Here is one of them.