Author: Russell Arben Fox

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

Mormonism and War

Tomorrow will mark the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. Several bloggers have acknowledged that anniversary this month by responding to a challenge: link to whatever you wrote about the war in March 2003, and explain what, if anything, you were wrong about. I have put up my own response here. But for Times and Seasons, I want to reprint something else I wrote, just under four years ago: a post inspired by President Gordon B. Hinckley’s April 2003 General Conference address, “War and Peace”.

Mormons, the Cross, and the Power(lessness) of Christ

Over the past couple of weeks, four things I’ve recently read have continued to stick in my mind: Nate’s post on the power (or lack thereof) of prayer, Kaimi’s post–and the ensuing long thread–on his daughter’s desire to wear a cross, an extremely thoughtful FARMS review of an apparently equally thoughtful book about Mormonism by an Anglican priest…and finally, Matthew 5. Taken together, they make me wonder why we Mormons think about Christ’s atonement the way that we do.

What Didn’t Make It Into the Deseret News Article

Over in the “Notes from All Over” sidebar, I linked to a Deseret News article by Carrie Moore which discusses a recent addition or addendum to the church’s oft-repeated state on political neutrality. (Scroll down to “Relationships with Government,” where you will read that “elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with…a publicly stated Church position.”) I was contacted for the article, and I have to thank Carrie for making me sound far more coherent than I’m sure I actually was; she put together a fine and thoughtful exploration of what this statement might be taken to mean for the church and Mitt Romney’s campaign. But–as is the case whenever you talk to a reporter–there was a lot we discussed (a whole hour’s worth) that didn’t make it into the final piece. Let me hit a few of those thoughts here.

An Abortion Retrospective

A regular reader asked me why Times and Seasons let yesterday’s anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, honored in much of the blogosphere as “Blog for Choice Day,” go by without any comment. I replied that probably the main reason was that everything has already been said which can be said here on that topic. Really, he replied? When? Oh, you recent arrivals, I thought to myself…

Snow Sundays

Melissa and I can’t be the only LDS parents out there whose first reaction upon hearing that church has been cancelled due to bad weather is “Oh crap–what are we going to do with the kids all day?!?”

Thanks from Afghanistan

Four months ago, I passed along my cousin Bob’s request for humanitarian donations as part of his work as a JAG officer in Afghanistan. His request has paid off: as the weeks have gone by, he and his fellow soldiers have received clothes, toys, shoes, hygeine kits, school supplies, blankets and much more from friends, family and numerous anonymous donors. To see his first post on the distribution of these donations, filled with some wonderful photographs, click here. (To see his post on how he successfully recruited Superman and Wonder Woman into the humanitarian cause, click here.) And to all of you who helped out–thank you!

One Thing Damon’s Article (Probably) Gets Right

Damon Linker’s TNR article “The Big Test” came out last Friday. Despite the holiday, his argument about Mitt Romney’s all-but-certain presidential candidacy and the problems which at least some Mormon beliefs pose for people looking to decide who to vote for has already caught the eye of many, and will no doubt be talked and argued about for some time to come. If you’re looking for a lengthy take on his argument…well, I’ve put one up on my blog here. But here, writing for T&S’s Mormon audience, let me pick out one paragraph of Damon’s article, and see what I can make of it.

(He’s A) Tiny Little Baby Born in Bethlehem!

I have a tendency to envision Christmas as a time of quiet joy, peaceful awe, hushed delight–the snow, the candlelight, the embers on the hearth, the distant stars, the bells and choirs reverberating into silence, the baby in the manger who “no crying makes.” Very New England, very northern European, very medieval, very traditional.

Revolutions in Mormon Culture

“Revolutions” is probably not the right word: what I’m getting at is turning points, watershed events, or paradigm shifts. What got me thinking about this was the “Mormon Culture Tournament” over at By Common Consent. It’s basically just a fun exercise (go ahead: vote!) but there’s an interesting project lurking within it: the attempt to identify which, out of many historical habits, references, and signifiers, really are the most telling, the most unique, the goofiest markers of the truly, authentically “Mormon.” And if you look at the answers and comments, a pattern is made clear….

Welcome Aboard, Ardis!

In case it may have escaped your notice, Ardis Parshall has been posting and commenting a great deal lately. Actually, she’s so quickly made herself at home here at Times and Seasons, with her superb series of historical posts, as well as her reflections on everything from running a business to doing archival research, all from her own unique yet thoroughly Mormon perspective, that it almost escaped our notice as well. But not quite! So allow this to be a somewhat delayed official introduction of Ardis to the Bloggernacle as T&S’s newest permablogger. Welcome, Ardis! (We’ll be getting you your own set of keys any day now.)


Yesterday was the first day of Sukkot, the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles, or Festival of Booths; the holiday continues for seven days, during which observant Jews will build and take some of their meals in, perhaps even sleep in, a sukkah, a small home within (or outside) their home.