Author: James Olsen

James is the husband of Erin Fairlight Olsen. Together they have conspired to doom their four children to a lifetime of mispronounced names: Gaebriel Joseph, Magdeleine Ysabelle, Myriam Reevkahleh, and Ewa Nuhr. Raised where the buffalo still roam in northeastern Wyoming, James learned how to Anglicize French while serving in the Missouri, St. Louis Mission. Afterward he thought so long and indecisively and with such passionately committed existential anguish about what to do with his life that finally BYU simply granted him a degree in philosophy. He then received a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. Unable to subsequently handle the pressures of looming heteronormativity, however, he once again took up philosophy, this time at Georgetown. Currently he is in Doha, Qatar, hiding out from Georgetown, which, much like his wife, would really appreciate it if he just graduated.

Actions for Haiti

I think that viewing the magnitude of human trauma in Haiti right now is similar to trying to mentally envision the difference between a 1000 and a 2000 sided object – we can’t really do it.

Ring Out Wild Bells

Following up on Kaimi’s post concerning “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” I thought we ought to take the opportunity to read over the full text of Lord Tennyson’s “Ring Out Wild Bells,” another frequently sung hymn whose lines concerning injustice, social inequity, political divisiveness, and faith we never sing!

December and Magic

December, like childhood, is an opportunity for us to experience an enchanted world, and regain some of the understanding we too quickly lose – and often anxiously jettison – after childhood.

Under Intellectual Condemnation

Let me begin by saying that I not only believe in the historicity of The Book of Mormon, I feel a deep and passionate commitment to our narrative. But this is a point on which I think Mormon historicitists, believers in a divine or human fiction, or any other type of good Mormon ought to be able to agree: The Book of Mormon is rich far beyond our nascent attempts to uncover.

Diapers, Dishes, and Dusting

Yesterday, a Mormon Times article began with this opener: “For Finnish music star Mervi Hiltunen-Multamäki, trading in exotic concert locales, a prime-time TV show and platinum records for diapers, dishes and dusting was an easy decision. Maybe that’s because following the prophet has never been hard for her.”

Alienated in Zion

“I say unto you, be one; and if you are not one ye are not mine (D&C 38:27).” And then comes the uncomfortable experience of sitting in Sunday School (or in the midst of some other group of Mormons) with the persistent, anxious thought, “I really don’t fit in here…”