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Monday, July 28, 2014

Questions for William Shepard, Author of Lost Apostles, Published by Signature Books

by Seattle Jon:

Signature Books recently published Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of Twelve, a compelling and interesting look at six of the original twelve apostles of the restored church. Signature provides this summary:

Before the LDS Church was organized, Joseph Smith received a revelation telling him that twelve men would be called as latter-day apostles. Their assignment would be to warn men and women that the end was near. Although the determination of who would fill these positions was delayed for five years, when it finally happened, God reiterated that these men were to "prune the vineyard for the last time" because the Second Coming was nigh. In fact, "fifty-six years would wind up the scene," they were told. Of the twelve men selected, nine would eventually be pruned from the vineyard themselves, to varying degrees. Seven were excommunicated, one of whom was reinstated to his position in the Twelve. Of the other six, the subjects of this book, none returned to the apostleship and four never came back to the Church at all. Those who left faded into obscurity except for when they are occasionally still mentioned in sermons as cautionary tales. But two of them made their marks in other areas of society, John Boynton becoming a successful dentist, a popular lecturer, geologist, and inventor with dozens of important patents to his name, while Lyman Johnson became a prominent attorney and business owner. Even though Luke Johnson, Thomas B. Marsh, William McLellin, and William Smith became religious wanderers and tried unsuccessfully to adjust to life outside of the Church, their experiences were interesting and comprise valuable case studies in belief and disaffection.

Rather than attempt to duplicate what's already been done, read Cheryl L. Bruno's comprehensive and well-written review of Lost Apostles. For this post, as I did with Signature's Cowboy Apostle, I've asked one of the authors a few questions that came to mind as I read the book.

Seattle Jon: Why write Lost Apostles?

William Shepard: I have been a student of Mormon history for many years and have developed standards for myself in spite of my up-bringing. That is, as a Strangite, I was weaned on the belief the Brighamites and Josephites were wrong, and of course, James J. Strang and his fellows were beyond reproach. Having shed this attitude some fifty years ago, I developed the need to express Mormon history honestly. This has been shaped in part by church associates who blamed any inconsistency or bad press the Mormons under Joseph Smith and James J. Strang received on the Gentiles or apostate Mormons. This has been exasperated by visits to Mormon Church sites at Kirtland, Independence, Nauvoo and Carthage where "faith promoting" history was spoken and blessed with a testimonial prayer. Add to that, I respect authors who can honestly tell their Mormon story in a manner where human frailties are addressed openly and honestly.

SJ: Lost Apostles - the book's title - implies loss. What exactly has been lost?

WS: Lost, to me, means the Apostles became lost because of a faith promoting process dedicated to dehumanize early Mormons who could not endure to the end. Such a philosophy demanded they be presented as being weak or bad. Moreover, lost relates to why they became lost. The collapse of the Kirtland Safety Society reflects conditions which made some become lost. Others became lost due to Mormon militancy, others from the centralization of authority, and yet others from the failure of Zion's Camp. In essence, the Church dogma of Mormon exceptionalism made them lost.

Lost Apostles Events with Authors Marquardt and Shepard

Signature Books recently published Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of Twelve, a compelling and interesting look at six of the original twelve apostles of the restored church. Authors Mike Marquardt and Bill Shepard will be discussing their book at the following events happening this week. Check them out!

Reading and Book Signing
Ken Sanders Rare Books (268 S 200 E, SLC)
Tuesday, July 29th   7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Complementary food from the famous Chow Truck
more info

Various Presentations
2014 Sunstone Salt Lake Symposium
University of Utah Olpin Student Union
July 30th - August 2nd
final program

Friday, July 25, 2014

MMM Library: Is Tithing the Same as Giving to Charity?

by Kyle:

On [the August 15, 2012] episode of NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, reporter Natalie Morales interviewed Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. You can see the interview here.

During the course of the interview the questions turned to the campaign, and to their refusal to release additional tax returns to the public. At the conclusion of her reasons for not releasing additional tax returns, she said that they pay their taxes, and added “beyond paying our taxes we give ten percent of our income to charity.” I know the Romney’s have given a great amount to various charitable organizations outside of the LDS community, but this sparked in my mind a debate: is paying tithing the same as donating money to charity?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Do Hard Things

by Seattle Jon:

Summit of Mount Adams. Mount Rainier in the distance.

I recently summited Mount Adams with my two oldest children, Ella (14) and Will (12). The 12,281 foot strato-volcano is the second highest mountain in the state of Washington, and while the climb isn't that technical, crampons and ice axes are needed and people do die in pursuit of the summit.

The six-mile climb from trailhead to summit took two days and was extremely difficult, one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I've done in my life. Part of me wonders what I was thinking doing this with them, but the other part thinks I don't do enough hard things with my kids.

My sense is too many kids these days live less-challenged lives. Society, it seems, has extremely low expectations of kids, especially teenagers, which can cause them to then have low expectations of themselves. Providing opportunities for kids to get out of their comfort zone and encouraging them to exceed expectations as often as possible should foster personal growth on a level we're not used to seeing.

We've already seen changes in Ella and Will - some subtle and some extraordinary - since the climb.

Will was a machine on the climb, leading our party of six for most of the way. I could not pass him no matter how hard I tried. He was the first to start out after breaks and the first to summit. Since the climb, he's been more patient and fun with his brothers, and interestingly, a smarter eater. I'm thinking this might be because we were careful about what food we packed and how we had to ration near the end of the climb. He also seems more mature and a little wiser than before. Instead of poorly managing his time last year as an 11 year-old scout camper, returning with only one complete and two partial merit badges, he returned this year the week following the climb with five merit badges and no partials after planning to complete just three. Coincidence?

View from camp. Mount St. Helens in the distance.

Ella has been a different young woman since the climb. There was a moment on the mountain that could have been a turning point for her personally. We'd reached the false summit, about 800 feet below the true summit. We were exhausted and our food and water were running low. Rather than resting, Will and I pushed ahead, leaving Ella and her cousin to follow with another member of the party. When that person had to sit out the final ascent due to injury, Ella and her cousin had a choice to make. They could sit out too, or get up and climb a very difficult last 800 feet to the summit by themselves. I can't tell you how cool it was to look back down the mountain and see them trudging up the snow and ice. I think Ella knows she made a difficult choice and accomplished something amazing, and it changed her. Since returning, she has been more confident, happy and content; less moody, judgmental and reclusive; and quicker to forgive and express love. Surely this too can't be a coincidence.

What is it about doing hard things that changes who we are?

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Seattle Jon is a family man, little league coach, urban farmer and businessman living in Seattle. He currently gets up early with the markets to trade bonds for a living. In his spare time he enjoys movies, thrifting and is an avid reader. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Japan Fukuoka mission field. He has one wife, four kids and three chickens.
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gifImage credit: GB Overton (used with permission).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Mormon Comic Sans Project 2

by Scott Heffernan:

The Mormon Comic Sans Project is an ongoing design exercise that involves taking Mormon-related logos, and replacing them with designer-unfriendly Comic Sans font. You can see the first batch here. They are kind of hideous and glorious at the same time.

There are still plenty of logos to go, but if there's one in particular you'd like to see in the next batch, let me know in the comments.

(Click on any image to see the original logo.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MMM Cross Stitches: Love At Home Edition

by Shawn Tucker:

As Modern Mormon Men, we know the value of surrounding ourselves with images that convey love and understanding. And what could convey love and understanding better than a cross stitch?  The below cross stitches are part of an ongoing series, cross stitches that you can make for your home. Knowing how many of you regularly cross stitch messages like the ones given below, please add yours to the comments.

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Shawn Tucker grew up with amazing parents and five younger, wonderful siblings. He served as a missionary in Chile during the Plebiscite and the first post-dictatorship election. After his mission, he attended BYU, where he married ... you guessed it ... his wife. They both graduated, with Shawn earning a BA in Humanities. Fearing that his BA in Humanities, which is essentially a degree in Jeopardy, would not be sufficient, Shawn completed graduate work in the same ... stuff ... at Florida State University. He currently teaches at Elon University in North Carolina. He and ... you guessed it ... his wife have four great children. Twitter: @MoTabEnquirer. Website:

Monday, July 21, 2014

True Grit and the Tour de France

by Reid:

Andy Talansky off the bike in the stage 7 sprint finish

Every summer I have a fight with myself that I predictably lose. The ever-present doping scandels and scoundrels of professional cycling make me vow to stop watching. Then the Tour de France begins and I cave in like a house of cards.

Andrew Talansky breathed a giant breath of life back into U.S. hopes in European pro peloton when this promising young American stood on the top step of the podium last month as the winner of the Criterium du Dauphine. Winners of the Dauphine are always competitive at the Tour, and frequently gone on to win it. Andy had horrific crashes in stages 7 and 8 which forced him to abandon the race after stage 11.

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