Tag: Mormon

Faith and Fame

Faith and fame aren’t always an easy mix, but Mormons who hit the big time seem to be able to hold it together most of the time. At least that’s the thrust of “How Mormons Deal With Fame” at the LDS Newsroom, discussing, among other names we all recognize, the 17-year-old phenom David Archuleta.

Food Storage Idea

There’s a really good conversation about food storage over at MMW and I want to throw one more idea out there, because it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that the best place to do my food storage buying was the most expensive grocery store in town.

Apostasy and the Dark Ages

Do these concepts have anything to do with each other? Apparently some Mormons think they do, hence Davis Bitton’s corrective essay “How Dark Were the Dark Ages?” (conveniently reposted at Meridian Magazine).

From the Archives: My Gifts (Whitsunday Reflections)

Today is Whitsunday on the Christian liturgical calendar, a holiday in honor of the Day of Pentecost. Not quite four years ago, in June of 2005, I wrote something about the gifts demonstrated on that day, and about those–decidedly less spetacular–gifts which I believe I have. I’m somewhat proud of it; I think it is one of the more honest things I’ve ever written about myself. The text is below; you might want to check out the comments on the original post as well.

Heimskringla and historicity

There’s a reasonable chance that all efforts to situate the Book of Mormon over the last 180 years, geographically, culturally, and chronologically, are based on the Nephite version of the Donation of Constantine. But first, let’s talk about Odin.

Catholic parish registers belong to humanity

According to various news outlets the Catholic Church has ordered its dioceses to not allow Mormons access to parish registers any more. For decades, our Church has copied and preserved millions of pages of parish registers around the world, as part of the injunction to seek out ancestors and perform ordinances in their behalf. There are probably still millions of pages out there, uncopied.

Some Notes on Religious Freedom from the Former USSR

An old friend of mine (a former bishop, for whatever that’s worth) whom I keep in touch with by e-mail has spent much of the past decade working for the U.S. government in different capacities in Russia and Ukraine. In response to some recent news items regarding limits on visas to the former Soviet Union, I asked him to comment on how the church and the missionary program is fairing there. This is what he has to say. For security reasons, he asked that I post it without his name attached.

Bittersweet Sixteen: Part Three

Like many people dependent upon care from others, M can be a tyrant. For instance, sensing my anxiousness during her feedings, when it’s crucial to get enough into her to sustain her plus stimulate her slow growth curve, she’s begun extorting favors. Sometimes she’ll demand to watch her favorite video over and over or else she won’t eat. She wrings the last drop of pleasure out of these viewings then collapses back into boredom. Then she grows irritable and stops eating again. Do something to entertain me, she pouts, or I’ll starve myself.

The Dennis Wendt Jr. Post*: Undercover for the Lord

2 August 1888: Elder Alma P. Richards, ten months into his missionary service and working without a companion, stopped at a hotel in Meridian, Mississippi and made arrangements with a porter to keep some books and clothing until the elder’s return, expected to be a few days later. Richards, on foot, left Meridian to visit friends just over the state line in Jasper County, Alabama. He was never heard from again.

The Myth of Evolution and the Myth of the Fall

Noah Millman concedes that the science of evolution is not incompatible with the truth of Christianity. But, he argues, the myth of evolution is incompatible with the myth of Christianity. I think science does have implications for the persuasiveness of specific religious doctrines, simply as a psychological matter. And I think evolution through natural selection is extremely uncongenial to the central Christian story about the nature of sin and evil in the world. Why? Because the Christian story has the entry of strife into the world come about as the result of human sin, whereas the core idea behind evolution by natural selection is that our existence – and the consciousness and ability to sin that comes with it – is a product of strife. Put bluntly: natural selection is not the mechanism that the Christian deity would use to create man in His image. Or, if it is, I’d like to see the explanation.

The Two Problems with Mormon Finitist Theodicies

I have been listening to the papers that were presented at the recent conference of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology. At the conference there was a presentation on that perennial favorite, finisitist Mormon theodicies, in this case a nicely nuanced comparison of Mormon thinking with the process theology of David Griffin. I was disappointed, however, that the authors didn’t more squarely face the two strongest objections to Mormon finitist theodicies. Indeed, I have yet to see what I think of as adequate responses to either of these issues.

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 Case of the Missing Pioneer

Most people with even a general sense of the Mormon pioneers are familiar with their “roadometer,” a set of cog wheels fastened to a wagon wheel, which measured and recorded distance traveled without the need for a human observer to count the revolutions of the wheel.

Noah’s flood in light of the Restored Gospel

There was an interesting post in September 2007 about a Dialogue article discussing the usual interpretation of the flood of Noah as being scientifically implausible. A couple of comments touched upon, but did not fully explicate, the way that the scriptures of the Restored Gospel and other insights from Joseph Smith can suggest a more scientifically feasible interpretation of Noah’s flood.

Mormons in the Military

About 15 years ago I wrote a short piece for a Sunstone Symposium panel on the topic of Mormons in the Military. It was focused on my personal experiences as a Latter-day Saint dealing with the armed forces rules on religion and the chaplains specifically. A number of things have developed since then, so it seems worthwhile to revisit the topic and elicit readers’ own experiences.

“Well Known Facts”

This week while we’re hearing lurid tales from Tom Green County, Texas, it is worthwhile to remember exactly how ugly were the lies once printed about our own people, some of them told unashamedly by federal appointees and officers of the 19th century court.