Author: Blog Administration

That Smile

Have you seen “The Mona Lisa Smile?” I loved it. Not only was it at my beloved Alma Mater, the most beautiful campus in the U.S., but showed it when I was there. Long, long ago. Not everyone loved the film. My classmates are planning to sue the producers for devaluing their education. But it was accurate in spirit if not in detail.

Church on Sunday

We meet in a city structure six stories high which has been home to eight units, manageable when we had two chapels. When a temple using all of the fifth and sixth floors and parts of the first and second floors began to take shape in the building, chaos ensued. The three single wards met together (stake conf. every Sunday) and a family ward, a Spanish branch, and a deaf unit began to meet together, every space used at all hours. A new and different church with many things going on that never used to. For me, the transformation is that my jobs are now off the books.

Church on Saturday

On Saturday I went to an LDS stake leadership meeting via satellite. I soon realized that I wasn’t too interested in the two major messages, the importance of trying to preserve the family and the subordination of all Church auxiliaries to the priesthood. I’ve heard those a few times. I remain unconvinced that Jehovah and Joseph Smith were advocating marriage and the family as we know them, and being an old auxiliary leader, I know that it is unwise to expect much help from the priesthood.

Writing Our Lives

Every day for the year of 2003 I read a diary entry by Samuel Pepys, the incomparable 17th century English diarist. The ten-year Pepys diary is being put online a day at a time by Phil Gyford, a British computer person, ( and the international community that has gathered and comments on the daily entries is similar to this, a tight ingrown, but very learned and witty group.

Mormonism and Evolution

Evolution has been a topic of much debate in many Christian churches, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church). Members fall into various categories: those who reject evolution outright, those that accept some principles of evolution, and those that accept the theory of evolution in its entirety thus far. I fall into the middle camp since I accept some principles of evolution such as adaptation and natural selection, but I find some parts of the theory problematic. However, I believe that the theory of evolution is currently the best scientific theory that attempts to explain how life began on Earth. I also don?t think that the theory of evolution necessarily precludes belief in God. As an LDS biologist, I?ve taken several courses on evolution and I?ve extensively read papers on both sides of the evolution/creation debate. In this essay, I will focus mainly on the pro and cons of evolution, and its place in LDS theology. The pros and cons of creationism will not be discussed here.

On Being a Female LDS Scientist

So where do I begin? First of all, there are not many LDS scientists to begin with and I?m not exactly sure why. There are approximately 2000 LDS scientists currently according to this link. I don?t know how many of those are women. What?s interesting is that Utah produces more scientists per capita than any other state for the last 60 yrs, 75% of whom are LDS. Of these, 83% percent classified themselves as strong believers and 90% of these felt that their religious beliefs and science theories could be harmonized. I think these statistics show that there is a great love for learning amongst LDS people and that most don?t believe that science and religion are mutually exclusive. Here?s a great paper on science & LDS scientists by Robert L. Miller.

Matt Evans

I grew up in Salt Lake City, the oldest of seven kids in a single-parent home. I served a mission in southern Spain and north Africa.  Shortly after returning home I married Lori Middleton, and we put ourselves through school, working and earning odd scholarships.  I graduated from the University of Utah with degrees in Political Science and Sociology, and from Harvard Law School.  After law school we spent five years in the the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC and loved it.  After 8 years on the east coast we returned to Utah in 2006 so our kids could be near their extended family. (Edit this page)

Kristine Haglund

My name is Kristine Haglund, and yes, I’m related to all the Haglunds you’ve ever met–I’m the oldest daughter of Richard (the oldest son of Richard and Grettle of SLC) and Carol Ann, sister to Rich, Evan, J.B., and Erika, cousin to another 47 Haglunds. I’ve lived in Huntsville, Alabama; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Los Alamos, New Mexico; Marburg, Germany; Nashville, Tennessee; Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts; Irvine, California; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Pleasanton, California, in roughly that order. I am also, to my continuing amazement, the mother of three adorable and highly entertaining children, Peter, Louisa, & Samuel. We now live in Swampscott, Massachusetts, a nice little seaside town (despite its unfortunate-sounding name) on Boston’s North Shore. We love it here, though we despair of our children ever learning to speak proper English on the Nawth Shawa. At church, I do lots of music callings and I’m in the Relief Society Presidency. The calling I aspire to–Primary pianist. My academic credentials include an A.B. from Harvard in German Studies and an M.A. from the University of Michigan in German Literature. Having thus squandered my youth, I’m hoping to finish a Ph.D. in something practical, like musicology or religion. [Of course, first I have to finish my advanced coursework in Potty Training the Extremely Stubborn Child, Nutrition for People Who Only Eat Plain Noodles and Goldfish Crackers, Essentials of Stripping 1970s-Era Wallpaper, and Extended Survival Without Sleep]. If I were braver,…

Wilfried Decoo

I am a native of Belgium – the Flemish side. Born in 1946, I grew up in Antwerp. I obtained my B.A. from the Antwerp Jesuit University, my M.A. from Ghent University – both degrees in Romance languages. As a teacher of French and history I worked a few years in Central Africa for the Belgian Cooperation. Next I went to BYU where I finished a PhD in comparative literature. From 1974 on I spent most of my academic career at the University of Antwerp, as professor of applied linguistics and language education. In 1999 the department of French and Italian at BYU asked me to join their ranks, but I also retain an affiliation with Antwerp. (Edit this page)

Rosalynde Welch

I grew up in Southern California, the daughter of Russ and Christie Frandsen and eldest of their eleven children (including Gabrielle, Naomi, Brigham, Rachel, Jacob, Benjamin, Abraham, Christian, Eva, and Isaac, in case you’re wondering if I’m related to that Frandsen you used to know). In 1992 I graduated from La Canada High School and started at BYU, where it didn’t take me long to switch from a pre-med to an English major. In 1993 and again in 1994, I spent several months in England studying literature and theater with, among other able teachers, Eugene England. I developed interests in Renaissance English literature, contemporary critical theory, and creative writing, and wrote my Honors thesis on composition pedagogy. I served in the Porto, Portugal Mission from 1996-1997. I graduated from BYU in 1998 with a degree in English, and married John Welch later that week. John and I attended graduate school at the University of California at San Diego, and I was awarded a PhD in Early Modern Literature from that institution in 2004. I studied under Louis Montrose and dissertated under the title “Placing Private Conscience in Early Modern England,â€? combining my interests in Renaissance literature, religion, and poststructuralist theory. During our years in San Diego, our daughter Elena Rachel was born in 2001, and our son John Levin Frandsen in 2003. We moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 2004, where John is an oncology fellow and I stay at…

Jim Faulconer

Jim Faulconer is a professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University, the husband of Janice Allen, the father of four and grandfather of eight, and the Gospel Doctrine teacher in his ward. His academic specialty is 20th-century European philosophy, particulary the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and some of his French acolytes. His hobbies are playing with grandchildren, cooking (and, therefore, also eating), travel, and New Testament studies, and for none of them is there sufficient time. Among his other trials as a professor, he taught philosophy to Greg, Nate and Russell, who are co-bloggers at T&S. Web page: (Edit this page)

Gordon Smith

When I was growing up in Osseo, Wisconsin in the 1970s, I couldn’t wait to leave for college. (The world looks awfully big and exciting from Osseo.) Although I had designs on some California schools, my best friend, Mike O’Neill, somehow convinced me to attend Brigham Young University, even though I was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During my first year, I watched Jim McMahon have one of the best individual college football seasons ever, and saw Danny Ainge win the John R. Wooden Award. I also read the Book of Mormon for the first time, and nothing was ever the same for me after that. During my second year at BYU, I was baptized into the Church, and one year later I was called to serve in the Austria Vienna Mission, which no longer exists (sniff, sniff). After returning from my mission, I met my wife, Sue Mumford, who served a mission in Sweden. We became friends by discussing our missions, and we hope to serve together someday. We have six children. The first was born on Mike’s birthday, so we named him Neill. Unfortunately, Neill was born with a rare neurological disorder called Werdnig-Hoffman disease, and he died after only three months. Shortly thereafter, Sue and I left Utah with heavy hearts so that I could attend the University of Chicago Law School. Although our doctors had advised against having more…

Greg Call

I grew up with seven brothers and sisters in Salt Lake City. I started at Brigham Young University in 1992, then served in the California Ventura Mission from 1993 to 1995. Returning to BYU, I married Cirila Kamm in 1997 and graduated with a philosophy degree in 1998. We then moved to New York City, where I attended Columbia Law School and Cirila finished her degree at CUNY-Hunter College. I completed my JD in 2001, briefly worked for a New York law firm, then took a two-year clerkship with Chief Judge Judith Kaye of the New York Court of Appeals. Our son Soren was born in the fall of 2001. In 2003 we moved to Oakland, California, where our daughter Mia was born. I now work for a law firm in San Francisco and we attend the Oakland Ninth Branch. (Edit this page)

Julie M. Smith

I live in Austin, Texas, with my husband, Derrick, an electrical engineer. We have three boys: Simon (’98), Nathan (’01), and Truman (’04). We are a homeschooling family and I also teach at the LDS Institute here in Austin. I have a BA in English from UT Austin and an MA in Biblical Studies (Theology) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where I specialized in the study of women in the New Testament. I wrote my thesis on Mark 14:3-9, which I explored from literary and feminist perspectives to determine how the story teaches the audience about Jesus’s identity. I wrote a book, Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels. It contains 4,000 questions (no answers) designed to get the LDS reader to really think about the scriptures and to introduce the major findings of biblical studies to the general reader. I like to read, buy books, and go out for ethnic food. (Edit this page).

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.

Frank McIntyre

I was raised in Wichita, Kansas, leaving for BYU in 1993. I majored in Economics with some philosophy thrown in both because I enjoyed the philosophy classes and to avoid the English Department (I took a great class from one Jim F., with Nate Oman in attendance; it was a blast.). After a mission to Lisbon North, Portugal, I returned to BYU, where I met my wife, Carrie. We got married a week after graduating and then headed off to Stanford for me to do a PhD in economics. After 5 great years (and 2 children) in the Bay, BYU made the mistake of offering me a job, so I am now an Assistant Professor of Economics at BYU. I have researched wage inequality, minimum wages, and illegal work in Brazil, and the EITC and the minimum wage in the U.S. (Edit this page.)