Author: Russell Arben Fox

Russell Arben Fox blogged at Times and Seasons between 2003 and 2009. More detailed biographical information can be found here.

From the Archives: The Greatest Mormon Halloween Costume Ever

So, that costume you’re going to wear to your ward Halloween party tonight? The one you’ve been working on for weeks? The one that you’ve consulted your parents/spouse/children/roomates/bishop/stake high council about? The one that manages to be simultaneously perfectly orthodox as well as moderately heretical, perhaps even a little risque? The one you’re so proud of? Well, no offense, but maybe you should just chuck it and go as Bozo the Clown. Because you see, the World’s Most Perfect Mormon Halloween Costume has already been done–it was done, in fact, two years ago. And we’ve got the evidence, right here. Enjoy.

Times and Seasons Welcomes Curtis DeGraw

There are those who get invited to guestblog at Times and Seasons because they’ve been a regular in the Bloggernacle for ages and we figure their turn has come. There are those who get invited because it collectively occurs to us that we and our readers would really benefit from hearing from a circus animal trainer/professional skydiver/registered Democrat/Hollywood movie star/John Birch Society chapter president/illegal immigrant/11-year-old chess master/French chef/member of President Hinckley’s security detail/quantum physicist/polygamy rights activists/dude on the corner handing out pamphlets/female panda/etc. And then there are those who get invited because we just plain like them. Curtis DeGraw is one of these.

The Times and Seasons Hat Trick

This summer, Times and Seasons was fortunate enough to host three superb guest-bloggers: Dave Banack, of Dave’s Mormon Inquiry fame; Patricia Gunter Karamesines, who came to us by way of A Motley Vision; and Kathryn Lynard Soper, who blogs and writes at her pseudo-eponymous blog and the journal Segullah. We are proud to announce that, one by one, all of these fine guestbloggers have succumbed to our desperate pleadings and wholly fictional promises of shiny new kitchen appliances stuffed with cash have agreed to make their presence here at Times and Seasons more permanent. For more proper introductions to them all, see our welcome to Dave here, Patricia here, and Kathy here….but for now, welcome the new permabloggers!

“Larger Projects”

Last week, Adam Greenwood pointed out to me an essay by Sally Thomas in First Things, titled “Home Schooling and Christian Duty.” Her article defends home schooling against a very particular kind of attack–specifically, the claim that educating one’s children in the home, away from the public schools, is a failure to be a witness to others as a Christian, a failure to be “in the world,” and more specifically be a light unto it. It’s an interesting claim, one which comes down to, as Ms. Thomas puts it, the idea that homeschooling is selfish, that “homeschoolers [have] enthroned the needs of their own children at the expense of the larger society…[and therefore have] truly turned [their] backs on the lost of the world.”

MWS: Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale is a Newbery Honor-winning, New York Times bestseller-listed author of youth and fantasy fiction, most particularly Goose Girl and Princess Academy. This week sees the release of her latest novel Austenland, her first adult fiction novel. She is a returned missionary and lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and two under-three-years-old children.

MWS: Doug Thayer

Douglas Thayer is one of the pioneers of what Eugene England called “faithful realism” in his definitive study of Mormon literature. Besides having taught literally thousands of Mormon writers during his fifty years as a professor of English at Brigham Young University, his short story collections Under the Cottonwoods and Mr. Wahlquist in Yellowstone have become a template for those writing about the interior life of Mormons today. He has also published the novels Summer Fire and The Conversion of Jeff Williams.

My Daughter, the Universalist (Part 2)

Three years ago, I related how Caitlyn, our second daughter, imposed a new ending upon the story of “The Ten Young Women,” in which, after the foolish women who’d left to refill their lamps returned to find the door to the wedding feast closed, the Bridegroom returned, opened the door again, admitted everyone, and everything ended happily. She is seven years old now, and less innocent, but her longings remain the same.

Protest Days

Only only time I’ve ever been arrested for civil disobedience, or held up a sign during a protest, or marched and chanted in the name of a political cause, was when I was an undergraduate at BYU. Go figure.

The Stake Conference Experience

Today we had stake conference. It was our turn for one of those newfangled and (I hope) still evolving “multistake conference broadcast” experiences; at least some of you living in the Midwest and Great Plains must have caught it also. I think this is the fourth time we’ve been part of one of these over the past five years or so in four different states. Of course, the language of our having “had” stake conference, or being “part” of it, is rather misleading; what I really mean is, we joined twenty or so others in a cacophonous side room, sat on folding chairs, alternately hushed our kids in vain or supplied them with snacks and crayons and paper, and strained to hear and see what was being relayed to us from Salt Lake City on an 18-inch TV screen. As far as meetings go, it’s not my favorite format. Still, I managed to take a few notes. Here they are, irreverent as they may be.

Easter Weekend, by Eugene England

Gene England (1933-2001), Mormonism’s greatest personal essayist, wrote “Easter Weekend,” his greatest personal essay, twenty years ago. I reread it every Easter, usually on Holy Saturday. The following are only excerpts. It was originally printed in the Spring 1988 issue of Dialogue, was reprinted in the Autumn 2001 issue of Irreantum, and is available in full in The Quality of Mercy, a collection of his essays long out of print. I didn’t know Gene well. But even many of those who didn’t know him well miss him, and look forward to someday hearing his voice again.