Author: Matt Evans

I grew up in Salt Lake City, the oldest of seven kids. My parents divorced when I was 11, an experience that shaped my life in many ways. After graduating from Cottonwood High in 1991, I served a mission in southern Spain and north Africa. When I returned home I enrolled at Salt Lake Community College and soon married Lori Middleton, a friend from high school. After doing as much of my undergrad education as possible at SLCC, I transferred to the University of Utah and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. After Lori finished her Master's program we moved to Concord, Massachusetts, so I could attend Harvard Law School. Upon graduation I took a position at a large law firm in Washington DC and we moved to the Maryland suburb of Rockville (Derwood, actually). In 2003 my wife and I were pioneers in the nascent fetal imaging industry, an industry we recognized would shape public knowledge and attitudes about the human person before birth, and were featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and many other media outlets. The industry is especially helpful to pro-lifers for chipping away at the conventional mindset that people begin at birth. After 8 years on the east coast we returned to Utah in 2006 so our kids could grow up near their extended family. We have six wonderful kids.

NBA strikes deal with LDS Church for Jabari Parker

Today the NBA announced a landmark agreement with the LDS Church to ensure that Jabari Parker’s desire to serve a mission does not interfere with his draft prospects, saying the church has agreed to their proposal to call Parker to serve as a missionary in the city of the NBA team that drafts him.  While the official statement is brief, sources close to the negotiations report that because the NBA considers Parker to be a certain star, league officials, including new commissioner Adam Silver, went to unprecedented lengths to ensure that Parker enters this year’s draft. The deal stipulates that Elder Parker will proselyte and live with missionary companions, like other volunteer Mormon missionares, except that, since Elder Parker will be an NBA player, he and his companion will attend all of the team’s practices and games.  The NBA has even given permission for Elder Parker’s companion to sit on the team bench in missionary attire during games to comply with mission rules, and has guaranteed that the companion will be shown at least twice during every televised game.  The league also made other concessions to secure the church’s cooperation, including donating a box suite for the local mission to use for entertaining investigators. Joe Dumars, President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons, is excited about the proposal, saying it raises Parker’s draft prospects even higher, “There’s not a GM in the league who wouldn’t like having two clean-cut Mormon missionaries…

Guest blogger: Nathaniel Givens

After much prodding from the folks here at Times & Seasons, circumstances have finally led Nathaniel Givens to accept our invitation to guest blog.  Lurking on the bloggernacle for years, he says, made him realize that his ideas aren’t getting any fresher.  So, finding himself with a surplus of unoccupied evenings (due to the necessity of working far from home), he discovered that now is the “later” he previously had in mind whenever he procrastinated the task of committing his ideas to digital paper, and he’s agreed to publish those ideas at T&S. Nathaniel earned a BS in mathematics from the University of Richmond, then an ME in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, and most recently an MA in economics from the University of Michigan. His primary interest is the use of formal and informal models to understand ourselves and the world around us, e.g. in disciplines such as artificial intelligence and economic decision theory. What does this have to do with Mormonism? Hopefully that will become evident in his posts over the next two weeks. When he’s not working in the DC area, Nathaniel lives with his wife and two kids in Williamsburg, VA. He is the son of Terryl and Fiona Givens, authors of “The God Who Weeps” (, and brother of Rachael Givens Johnson, who writes for Patheos ( Nathaniel runs his own blog: Difficult Run (

The Tebows and Other Good Omens

I never expected to see the day that Kate Michelman, past president of NARAL, would write, “all sorts of well-educated and progressive people are comfortable calling themselves pro-life.” Michelman’s opinion piece in the Washington Post is fascinating not only for her openly acknowledging the eroding support for her movement (she says recent polls shows 51% of Americans identify with the label “pro-life” and only 44% with “pro-choice”; the pro-life number would be a historical high), but by how hamstrung she feels defending abortion. She attributes the shift in public opinion primarily to technological progress: “[s]cience played a big role, making the fetus more visible. Today, the first picture in most baby books is the 12-week 3D ultrasound, and Grandma and Grandpa have that photo posted on the fridge.” Read that again. Michelman acknowledges that support for the pro-choice movement benefited from people’s ignorance of human development and the reality of the preborn person. This admission could scarcely be more heartening to those of us working for fetal rights. I’ve observed the phenomenon she mentions first-hand, and it is real. On two separate occasions at our former fetal imaging studio, Baby Insight, men who appeared to be in their 60s, who I assumed to be grandfathers of the new baby, came out of the studio where they’d spent 30 minutes watching their new grandbaby on a 70″ projection screen, and say to no one in particular, “Well, it really is a…

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.

Mormon Church and Utah Politics

Wilfried noted this article, which says, Before each general [Utah legislative] session, GOP and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate sit down separately with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints special affairs committee, a group made up of church general authorities, church public relations officials and their lobbyists, to discuss any items on the minds of both legislators and church leaders. Does anyone know what other groups legislators of both parties meet with, to discuss issues of concern? Do the GOP and Democratics leaders in South Carolina have combined meetings with the Southern Baptist Convention?

From the Archives: Christmas Cigarettes

Imagine that universally-respected researchers had determined that most of the people in your community eat too much sugar and fat, and are at serious risk of developing diabetes, hardened arteries, and other ailments associated with poor diet and inadequate exercise.

Mitt Romney’s Mormon Speech

Mitt Romney has decided to formally address his Mormonism in a speech this Thursday. His campaign is stressing that he won’t be detailing Mormon doctrine, but speaking more broadly to the role of faith in America and in Mitt Romney. This speech will cause every major news organization on the planet to discuss Mormonism this week, with coverage that may exceed even that of the Salt Lake City Olympics, where Mormonism appeared only as a local interest sub-story. This week Mormonism will be at the center. Over the next week we will offer threads about the speech, commentary and global discussion. Let us know what your local papers are saying.

Critics pan “September Dawn”

New York Post: “‘September Dawn’ succeeds completely at failure; the unified incompetence of its writing, directing and acting suggest a man who manages to be on fire and drowning at the same time, just as the bus runs him over.” New York Daily News: “‘September Dawn,’ written by an evangelical Christian, may be the worst historical drama ever made.” New York Times: “The maudlin, grotesque western ‘September Dawn,’ . . . apes ‘Schindler’s List’ in hopes of creating a Christian Holocaust picture.”

How Much Should We Advantage Our Kids Over Others?

When asked why they aren’t more generous with their time or money, many people answer that if they gave more, it would be at the expense of their own children. Sure, the argument goes, it would be great if I could pay an extra $100 to provide immunizations for kids in Africa, but my first duty is to my family, and giving that $100 for immunizations would prevent me from taking my kids to the water park.

Holding Conference in an Undedicated Building

I was surprised that the Saturday Afternoon session, held in the tabernacle, was nearly over before the tabernacle was dedicated. I had expected the dedication at the beginning, perhaps even before the official start of the session. If there’s no problem or benefit to having General Conference in a dedicated building, why was the tabernacle dedicated at all? Anyone know the rationale?

“John, you’ve prepared for this your whole life”

My brothers, dad and I got together to watch the BYU-Utah game yesterday. With only three seconds left, down by four and needing a touchdown, BYU called a timeout to plan their final play. Not since 2003 had a college football team won on the last play of regulation. Everyone at our party was too excited and anxious to sit down, and we publicly wondered at the intensity the players must be feeling. After the game, BYU quarterback John Beck was asked what he was thinking as he walked on the field after the timeout. “I took a deep breath and said, John, you’ve prepared for this your whole life.”

Reproductive Rights

I’ve been arguing this point for years, but today a group made it in Federal court: laws imposing child support on fathers who didn’t want a child violate the father’s “reproductive freedom.” The group calls their cause Roe v. Wade for Men. According to their attorney, “The public is still dealing with the pre-Roe ethic when it comes to men, that if a man fathers a child, he should accept responsibility,” and they hope to change that.

Another Martyr

DESERET EVENING NEWS Monday, March 5, 1888 ANOTHER MARTYR Elder John B. Johnson departed this life at the Utah Penitentiary at an early hour this morning (March 5th).

Restitution for Michael Lane

When Michael Lane confessed to his bishop that he had killed a two-year-old, PJ Watts, in 1990, his bishop told him the repentence process requires that he confess to civil authorities and accept the consequences of his actions. However, because Lane also sinned by lying about killing PJ when he was prosecuted for the homicide at the time, civil authorities are now unable to prosecute him, despite his confession, under the Constitution’s “double jeopardy” doctrine. Given that it’s wrong to receive less punishment for two sins than for one, how must Michael Lane pay restitution for his egregious sins — murder and lying to avoid responsibility? News stories are here, here, here, and here.