Year: 2008

Pardon our appearance…

We’ve just completed upgrading the software that runs Times and Seasons. The upgrade requires us to also update the files that control how the site looks. It may take a while for us to get Times and Seasons to the way we want it to look, so please be patient.

Rhetoric, Ideology and Prop 8

In the run up to and in the wake of Prop 8, Latter-day Saint proponents of the measure have often tried to parse their words carefully when discussing their support for it in order to avoid charges of bigotry and hate for opposing the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. Echoing a refrain from the late Gordon B. Hinckley, Mormon Prop 8 supporters have often tried to explain that they are “not anti-gay, but pro-marriage.” This effort, however, has clearly failed to shield members from allegations of discrimination.

Bones

One of the subterranean threads running throughout the Book of Mormon is the mystery of whose bones are heaped upon the land northward.

What Should Mormons Do?

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Mormon employees at the University of Phoenix benefited from discrimination based on religion, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The University settled the suit, paying $1.9 million to 52 employees (an average of more than $36,000 each!) and agreeing to a “zero-tolerance” policy to religious discrimination, but did not admit wrongdoing. What’s up with that?

Sunday School Redux 2

The Joseph Smith manual had one of my favorite quotes in it this week: “I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes [limits] for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.”

The Canonization of the Book of Mormon?

Penguin Books has just published a “Penguin Classics” edition of the Book of Mormon edited by Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp. Penguin Classics, of course, are the paperback editions of literary staples like Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. They are printed and marketed largely as texts for college classes. The assumption is that a text included in the Penguin series has become a stable part of the high-brow diet of books, or at least ought to be. It is worth reflecting a little bit about what this edition of the Book of Mormon might or might not mean. The Penguin book itself is based on the 1840 edition of the text rather than our current edition of the scriptures. The text was chosen because this was the last version that Joseph Smith was personally involved in editing. Also strictly speaking there is no standard 1830 version of the text for the simple reason that Grandin edited the book as he was printing it, with the result that different copies of the 1830 edition contain different versions of the text. Our current edition, in contrast, contains an elaborate set of interpretive aids that were added long after Joseph was murdered. Hence, the Penguin…

How the Other Half Preaches

A pool in our area had a free admission day this summer and I’m nothing if not cheap so there we were. Imagine the delighted looks on my kids’ faces when they saw not only a FREE pool, but FREE inflatable bouncers, FREE snowcones, FREE hot dogs, FREE chips, and FREE games with prizes.

Just Say No (to members)

A few months ago, a sister in our ward asked my daughter to babysit. On a Monday evening. That’s right. Monday Evening. We try to be diligent with family home evening on Monday night, so the answer needed to be “no,” but I was a bit confused about how to convey that message.

What of the Mormons (in Congress)?

The results are in, and the Mormon officials in congress is facing some changes as a result. From what I can tell, the new congress will include either 5 or 6 Mormons in the Senate and 9 in the House of Representatives. [FWIW, outside of the U.S., I only know of 1 LDS Church member currently serving in a national legislature, down from 4 eight years ago.]

Prop 8 Likely to Pass

I haven’t found a news organization that’s called Prop 8 yet, and CNN’s exit polling showed it failing 48%-52%, but my county-by-county analysis of the remaining vote indicates that it will likely pass. With 93.6% of precincts reporting state wide, Prop 8 is leading by 406,519 votes (4.1%), and almost all of the precincts yet to be tallied are in counties that have favored Prop 8 by good margins.

An Historic Night

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too. Barack Obama November 4, 2008

All opposed, by the same sign

On the issues I care about (and therefore not including the topic addressed from various perspectives so eloquently by my esteemed colleagues), I prefer the positions of the Democratic Party platform and candidate. I directly benefited from Barack Obama’s work as a state senator while I lived in Illinois, he seems to know what he’s talking about on important issues, and it looks like he ran a pretty competent campaign. For my taste, McCain and Palin didn’t offer much more than the politics of fear and resentment, and they seemed more likely to stay trapped in the conflicts of the twentieth century than their opponents. I know it’s fashionable to affect hand-wringing uncertainty about choosing between two candidates, but I cast my vote for Obama with unmitigated enthusiasm. Who did you vote for?

Counterpoint: Abortion, Obama

Barack Obama has sought to bring pro-lifers and pro-choicers together to find a middle ground on the issue of abortion. With the help of noted conservative legal scholar, pro-life activist, and former Romney supporter Doug Kmiec

A Marvelous Work and a Cacophony

Last week’s sacrament meeting was unique. While on the surface it was just the annual Primary Sacrament Meeting program, the room was packed and the overflow took up most of the cultural hall. But the best part was the congregational hymns, a joyful cacophany that mangled the hymns, making them hard to understand, but communicating clearly the spirit.

12 Questions for the LDS Newsroom, Part One

Representatives from LDS Public Affairs who manage and direct the Newsroom site at LDS.org agreed to respond to a dozen questions submitted by the T&S permabloggers. We are pleased to post the first six questions and answers below, with the second set of six to follow shortly. We appreciate the time and effort that went into preparing these detailed responses. They should help make the Newsroom an even more useful resource for LDS readers.

Mormon Halloween: Its Origin and Destiny

I’m not sure whether or not Halloween is actually “Mormon” to any significant degree. Mormons generally participate in the holiday here in the U.S., of course. And we even have a few requirements of the holiday in a Church setting — for example, we don’t allow masks at Church-sponsored Halloween events. But I don’t think that these facts quite give us a Mormon Halloween. Perhaps what we need is a good, Mormon-specific monster!