Author: Greg Call

Greg blogged at Times and Seasons from 2003 to 2007. He grew up with seven brothers and sisters in Salt Lake City. He started at Brigham Young University in 1992, then served in the California Ventura Mission from 1993 to 1995. Returning to BYU, he married Cirila Kamm in 1997 and graduated with a philosophy degree in 1998. We then moved to New York City, where he attended Columbia Law School and Cirila finished her degree at CUNY-Hunter College. He completed his 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. He lives in Oakland, California, with his family.

Did Brigham hate your 501’s?

Here’s the lead from an article in today’s New York Times: “IN the 1830’s, when men’s pants were first tailored with buttons visible down the front of the fly, the Mormon leader Brigham Young discouraged the population from wearing them, calling them ‘fornication pants.’”

RSR reviews collected

With four excellent reviews here on T&S, as well as other discussions around the bloggernacle, you may think you’re covered as far as initial responses to Rough Stone Rolling.

Supplementing Angels

A not-so-hypothetical from a reader: Your daughter’s AP English class is using Tony Kushner’s Angels in America as a central part of a semester’s curriculum. You are friends with the teacher and would feel comfortable suggesting that she supplement the Angels module with another book or short story dealing with Mormonism from a different, hopefully “insider,” perspective. What work of Mormon literature would you suggest?

Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, published last year, is not so much a memoir or autobiography, but rather a series of snapshots, each drenched in cultural references, that together create a approximation of Mr. Zimmerman’s character. One of those snapshots gives us Dylan living in an apartment in Greenwich Village owned by a mysterious autodidact named Ray. It’s 1960, Dylan is new to New York, and unknown to the burgeoning folk scene in New York. He hasn’t yet written his first song, but he knows about Joseph Smith and the Adam-God theory.

12 (or so) Questions for Kathleen Flake

Back in November, we solicited questions for Kathleen Flake, author of the terrific book The Politics of American Religious Identity (2004). We are now pleased to present her responses. Thanks Professor Flake! 1. How have you negotiated the tension between focusing on Mormon studies versus the broader issues within your discipline? How have your faith and your interest in Mormon studies affected your career at Vanderbilt, if at all? My focus has not been on Mormonism as an end in itself. Rather, I have experimented with using Mormonism as a tool to understand the “broader issues.”

“Let us walk through the door”

In honor of this holy day, I offer a favorite poem: “Seven Stanzas for Easter.” John Updike wrote it in 1960 as a university student, as I understand, and published it in a periodical called The Lutheran. ___ Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall.

Dealing with Abuse in the Church

Over the last few years, there has been a barrage of accusations, civil suits, and settlements involving child sex abuse that have crippled Catholic dioceses all over the country, both financially and spiritually. Our Church has experienced the same types of issues, but, so far, on a much smaller scale.

A Memory of Professor Farnsworth

Yesterday I received an email announcing that my Contracts professor, E. Allan Farnsworth, had passed away. He was a genuinely kind person and a prolific scholar, and a generation of lawyers has relied on his treatise to get through consideration, the parol evidence rule, and the statute of frauds. I’ll always remember him, though, for scaring the heck out of me as a first year.

Do Mormons Care About Modern Architecture?

Last month’s issue of Dwell, a shelter/design magazine, featured a cover story about a gorgeous modernist home in Salt Lake City’s Emigration Canyon (pictured below). I hadn’t heard much about modernism in Utah, so I was excited to see how the writer would frame the story and contextualize her account of the home. She took the easy way out, for the most part.

Flake on the Crisis of 1905 and the Re-Orientation of Mormonism

We are soon approaching the year when we’ll celebrate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s birth. As we do so, we should also reflect back on the 100th anniversary of his birth, and the legacy of that extraordinarily chaotic period. In The Politics of American Religious Identity, Kathleen Flake vividly illustrates that in 1904 and 1905, the Church was in the midst of deep and grave crisis.

Can a Good Mormon be a Meritocrat?

I’m not a big fan of much of David Brooks’s writings, as he is often too Manichean to be useful (here’s a good parody). But in the opening pages of Bobos in Paradise, Brooks does a nice job of describing the shift in American culture from a class structure based on lineage or money to one based on education and achievement.