Wednesday, October 31, 2012

19 Iconic Sci-Fi Hands



by Scott Heffernan (bio)

Happy Halloween.


Animated Primers on Major Theories of Religion



by Seattle Jon (bio)

I found these 60-Second Adventures in Religion – put out by The Open University – to be not only enjoyable, but informative as well.

Adventure #1: Religion as social control Had Marx got his way, society would be so happy being revolutionaries, there’d be no need for religion. He’d obviously never been to a Gulag.



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Giveaway 17: Winner




Christopher Bigelow, owner and operator of Zarahemla Books, has generously offered our readers one copy of each of Zarahemla's 18 titles over the next few weeks. This week's winner will receive the following titles (click for book previews): Millstone CityWasatch: Mormon Stories and a NovellaAngel Falling Softly and Kindred Spirits.

And the winner is: Stuart Somerville (link to comment) - please email us your address

In operation since 2006, Zarahemla Books publishes Mormon-oriented fiction, humor, and memoir, with an emphasis on adventurous Mormon stories that are unorthodox but not apostate. Theric Jepson, of A Motley Vision blog, calls Zarahemla "the most valuable brand in Mormon letters today" and "the Pixar of Mormon literature." If you didn't win these titles, buy them now. And look for a second Zarahemla giveaway soon!

Guest Post: Parental Sinning



Petey is a father of two (for now) and a husband of one (forever). Petey currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, where he attends a pediatric dental residency program. Being an air force dentist, he has been a member of six wards/branches/ groups -- in the west, the east, the deep south, the not as deep south, and the middle east -- since 2008.  Petey is also a former columnist for the country's oldest Japanese-America civil rights publication, The Pacific Citizen.

Image by Lindsey Turner.

In my current pediatric dental residency program I am required to do a significant amount of academic reading. Inside of this body of research literature are many articles focused on parenting, family social structures, and the downstream effect on the child behavior and behavior management. As a result, I find my interest piqued whenever I come across an interesting read regarding parenting. Such was the case this week when I read the following headline on the Huffington Post: How An 'Enlightened' Dad Responded To Finding Porn On His Son's Computer.

Modern America and Modern Mormondom are obsessed with parenting. A casual stroll through any Barnes and Noble or hipster boutique corner bookstore is guaranteed to showcase a bevy of parenting guides authored by self-proclaimed "experts." Some like to contrast the parenting paradigms of the modern parent vs. the classic parent. Where classic parents focus on offspring being good citizens and contributing to society productively as the number one desire for their children while potentially sacrificing nurturing aspects of being a parent; the modern parents "wants their kid to be happy," above all else and protects them from sadness and pain and ultimately deprives their child of proper coping mechanisms. Another paradigm is the “progressive” parent who is cool and hip and is the child’s friend first and parent second.

Mormon parenting falls inside, across, and between each and all of these parenting paradigms. Sometimes we want to be the cool parents too. Other times we are proud at how well-disciplined our kids are. But when it comes to youthful misadventure, most of us mistakenly think that our teenagers will probably feel comfortable to come talk to us when the difficult or tempting time arises. But will they? That is the essence of the Huffington Post article. What's the best way to parent your children through a world full of thorny bushes?

Monday, October 29, 2012

MMM Mail 3: Today's Young Men



We received the following question from Whitney, author of the blog The Life of a Mormon Teen.

Q: What do you think today’s young men need to know?


A: Ben Johnson

No one likes a preachy old man so I am going to deviate a bit from the original request. Instead of telling young men what they need to know, I'll tell the young men what I wish I would have known when I was their age.

1 - High school doesn’t matter as much as you think it does, despite 40000 clichéd movies that say otherwise.

2 - Girls in high school don’t matter as much as you think they do. I don't say that to demean the girls. I mean that if you don't go to every dance or get every date it doesn't matter. You'll live. Older girls are better anyway. They have more money …

3 - A mission can affect you for the rest of your life. Prepare for it and use the service you give for a foundation to build your life on. The people you serve with might be doofuses but that doesn't mean the gospel isn't true.

4 - Your parents are wiser than you think they are. Sure, they're old and they wear socks and sandals (at the same time), but that doesn't mean they can't give good advice.

5 - Learn to save money while you are young. It will make it that much easier when you get older and money is more important.

There are about a thousand other things I wish I would have done differently but those are the top five. Look, have fun while you are young and enjoy life. Pretty soon you will look back and wonder where all the time went. But if you lay a foundation while you are young you will be much better off later on down the road.

A: Scott Heffernan

1 - Be kind to people.

2 - If you make a mistake, repent and move on. Don't get wrapped up in shame. You are good and godly, even if you don't feel like it or act like it all the time. Choose to focus on your deep goodness, rather than your superficial imperfections.

Linger Longer 15




Linger Longer is a series where we highlight articles that recently caught our attention. Suggest religious blogs to add or recommend your own articles in the comments. Click here for previous lists.

Bloggernacle (religious sites)
On Forgiveness and Syphilis (Segullah)
Notes on Apologetics (By Common Consent)
New Progress for Mormon Studies (Times and Seasons)
Dear FMH: Father's Rights? (Feminist Mormon Housewives)
Spiritual Authority Figures and Spiritual Role Models (Zelophehad's Daughters)
Disarmament (Dandelion Mama)
Brace Yourselves: Mormon Literature and the Drop in Missionary Age (The Low-Tech World)
The Evolving Mormon Definition of Preside (The Exponent)
Who Are the Current Church Leader Intellectuals? (Wheat & Tares)
Welcome to the New [Young Women] Curriculum! (Beginnings New)
Sharing Christ (Keepapitchinin)
Mormon War (Rational Faiths)
Why I'm Glad (and Proud) I Was Raised Mormon (Into the Hills)
The Three Nephites and Mormon Literature (A Motley Vision)
Shielding Children From Our Emotions (Doves and Serpents)
Larry Echohawk and Lamanite Identities (The Juvenile Instructor)
My Stab at Proper Balance Between the Intellectual and the Spiritual, For Now Anyway (Faith-Promoting Rumor)
What do Mormons Believe About African Americans? Election Year Update (Ask Mormon Girl)
Boy Scout "Perversion Files" Raise Questions About Abuse in Mormon Contexts (Religion Dispatches)

Mormon-Related Podcasts
Episodes 376: Margaret Young - Race and Gender Dynamics in Modern Mormonism (Mormon Stories Podcast)
Episode 369: Exploring LDS Temple Exclusion and Inclusion (Mormon Stories Podcast)
Episodes 129-130: New Missionary Age (Mormon Matters Podcast)
Matters of the Heart 3: A New Story for Mormon Women (Mormon Matters Podcast)

Off-Bloggernacle (non-religious sites)
A Conservative History of the United States (The New Yorker)
The Parent Rap (bluefish TV)
Athiest, Gnostic, Theist, Agnostic (The Freethinker)
The Medicine of Gratitude (DailyGood)
Droppings, Raindrop, and Laser Pointer (What If?)
How to Stop Hospitals from Killing Us (The Wall Street Journal)
The 18 Worst Things for Left-Handed People (BuzzFeed)
The $9 Cardboard Bike (Fast Company)
Tasting Like Chicken (Slate)
The Marketplace in Your Brain (The Chronicle)
The Peak Time for Everything (The Wall Street Journal)
Paradox of Hoaxes: How Errors Persist, Even When Corrected (Wired)
The Economics of Video Games (Washington Post WonkBlog)
The Best TV Show That's Ever Been: Cheers (GQ)
Life Under Romneycare (Esquire)
Why Are We So Rude Online? (The Wall Street Journal)
The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary (The Office Life)
A Glimpse at the Sacred Heart of Mormonism (The Wall Street Journal)
Do You Identify as Intelligent? (The Last Word on Nothing)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Obama vs. Romney




Election day is just around the corner, so we asked Mormons for Obama to present their best case for another Barack Obama presidency and Romney CTR to argue for why the country should make a change and elect Mitt Romney. We hope you find their efforts below to be both informative and helpful as you make your final decision. Now get out and vote on November 6th!

Guest Post: The Case for Barack Obama




Robert Taber is the national director of Mormons for Obama, a grassroots campaign to support and mobilize Latter-day Saints who are voting for President Obama’s re-election. When not campaigning, he’s a PhD candidate in Latin American history who also specializes in helping his preschooler staple together paper crowns. He roots for the BYU Cougars and Florida Gators. If they play each other, he will root for the Gators but will bask in the misery of his current classmates should BYU prevail--sweet, sweet memories of the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament.

I saw a tweet the other day: “Only a Democrat could prevent a depression, end a war, get bin Laden, and double the Dow & then be told he can’t run on his record.” The economy is growing: we’ve added 5.2 million private sector jobs during 31 straight months of growth—including 500,000 manufacturing jobs—the most growth since 1997. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.8% (the lowest since Dec. 2008), housing starts are at a four-year high, retail sales are re-accelerating, car sales are at their highest since early 2008, consumer credit is growing, the Dow is above 13,000 (it closed under 8,000 on the day President Obama was inaugurated and bottomed out at 6,629 in March 2009), consumer confidence is a five-year high, and home prices are on the rise again. I think President Obama is doing all right.

The President’s plan for the next four years is making education and training a national priority, investing in manufacturing, boosting American-made energy, reducing the deficit in a balanced, responsible manner, and ending the war in Afghanistan so we can focus on rebuilding America.

As a student of history, I see President Obama as having a firm grip on our national situation and where we need to go. At the end of World War II, the United States dominated the world in manufacturing output (and would dominate the global economy for the next two decades). Policy makers took deliberate steps through the Marshall Plan, the International Monetary Fund, and other institutions to help the rest of the world catch up, with the (sound) idea that if we’re all making & trading with one another, we will be less likely to go to war with one another. Now, however, the challenge is dealing with the consequences of this success. It behooves us today to build an economy that’s more substantial than financial manipulation and a society that gives equal opportunity to get ahead in a more competitive world. President Obama recognizes this, and his domestic policies have focused on five pillars: healthcare, education & training, manufacturing, investment in infrastructure, and an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy production. These five work together to bring us back to full employment. For me, healthcare is the most important.

Guest Post: The Case for Mitt Romney




Mitchell Wall is a native Utahan of pioneer roots. Mitchell served in the Florida Tallahassee Mission. Upon his return Mitchell graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He is now pursuing a law degree at the University of Denver. Mitchell is also affiliated with Romney CTR, an independent organization supporting the candidacy of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney is a tailor-made candidate for the problems that beset our nation at present. The breadth of his experience when it comes to economic and fiscal matters, his aptitude for budgetary control, and a long list of credentials that doesn’t include stints in a broken and partisan Washington enable him to tackle matters in a way that is both necessary and refreshing. A moderate approach to conservative principles coupled with economic experience and savvy form the basis of our support of the GOP nominee.

Whether people agree with his politics or not, there is little doubt that Romney is one of the most qualified candidates to ever vie for the White House. The simple fact of the matter is the man has excelled in every endeavor which he has undertaken. Whether it’s his esteemed education, his success as a business executive and entrepreneur, his miraculous turnaround of a faltering Olympics, or his accomplishments as a Republican governor of one of the bluest states in the nation, Romney has both experienced and excelled in numerous undertakings which would prepare a would-be presidential contender. The fact that these accomplishments occurred independent of the same leadership which oversaw the spiral downward into our current predicament gives Romney credibility in alleviating the burden of an “only-on-our-terms” partisan approach to solving our nation’s problems.

There is little disagreement that the most pressing issues at present are our nation’s economic digression from its former position of strength and the crushing burden of the national debt which casts an ominous shadow on our future. What is disagreed upon is how to solve those issues. The incumbent president has certainly had a bad situation placed in his lap, but the result of his efforts to solve that situation have been a skyrocketing deficit with no end in sight and little to no improvement in the economic outlook for our nation. Unemployment hovers around 8% with much of the out-of-work populace not even counted in that number due to being so devoid of prospects of employment that they have desisted in looking. Housing values have plummeted. Stimulus spending has merely created another explosion in the national deficit that will be passed on to future generations without the requisite benefits to offset that spending. With this context in mind, Americans must pose the question of why we have reason to expect a change in the national outlook in the next four years without a change in vision and direction.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Mormon Comic Sans Project



by Scott Heffernan (bio)

I just thought of a huge demographic that this blog has been missing out on: Mormon typography nerds.

Many of you may be aware of the strong dislike most designers have towards the Comic Sans font. Example. I recently came across a couple of projects (here and here) that involve replacing famous logos with Comic Sans. The results are fun and oddly eye catching.

I decided to produce a similar batch of redone logos that may be recognizable to a Mormon audience. Enjoy. (Click on any image to see the original logo.)



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You May Actually Want to Read This



by Dustin (bio)


I want to share with you a new verbal weapon to deploy in your interactions with family and friends. Use it wisely.

The other day I was coming back to my office after using the restroom (a wholly unrelated piece of information) and my colleague stopped me just outside of my office to ask a question. She was preparing for a big interview for a prestigious scholarship and asked me, "Dustin, any last words of advice for my interview?" I paused and then shared a few practical tips for her interview to help ease her anxiety. She cocked her head and said, "Wow, that was actually really helpful!" I furrowed my bushy brow and asked, "Hmm, what did you expect? That I would give stupid advice?" She laughed and thought about it and said, "I'm not sure, but I guess I assumed you would make some lame joke." Zzzzzzzzzing! Actually she was right. It took everything in my power not to offer some stupid advice or crack a joke. But the real gem is the power of the word actually.

Nothing stings worse than a well-placed "actually." It leaves you wondering if what you did was in fact worthy of a compliment or if instead it was so outside of your typically lame self that it merits acknowledgement -- a total power move. It knocks you on your heels just enough to keep you guessing.

I've begun to be more aware of the use of actually, and I'm surprised how often people use it to qualify their statements. It takes an otherwise meaningful compliment and swings it back-handed. Let's try a few I've heard recently.

This pumpkin pie is actually really good! (At least much better than the cow-hide I thought it might taste like).

I actually enjoyed this workshop a lot! (It wasn't anything like the horrific brain dent I figured it would be).

I've actually been really excited to talk with you! (I thought you would be lame, and you still might be).

I checked out that MMM blog and actually liked reading it. (No comment)

I've had some fun with it around the office. Try it out and let me know how it goes. You might actually find it useful (and if not, this post will be as useless as you assumed it would be).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crowd Sourcing an Elder's Quorum Lesson



by Bradly Baird (bio)


I have been tasked with teaching the lesson in Elder's Quorum this coming Sunday. I am teaching from President Uchtdorf's sermon, The Merciful Obtain Mercy, given in the Saturday Morning Session of the April 2012 General Conference of the Church. It is a lovely address and deals with challenging topics such as envy, jealousy, hatred, contention, resentment, and revenge. President Uchtdorf presents the doctrine related to these emotions/actions and also points to the ways in which the Atonement may be utilized to heal wounded hearts/minds/bodies after involvements in these disturbing complications. It is an excellent sermon.

After reading it through several times and after thinking about ways to present the subject matter, I have developed a few good ideas and techniques. But, I confess that it has been quite a while since I presented a full-length lesson in an adult setting at church and I could use more ideas for presenting the material and enhancing the learning atmosphere. I want to take the lesson beyond the normal style of priesthood teaching seen all too often in wards and stakes, and I am open to suggestions from those of you who possess strong teaching ability, skills, and techniques.

So, if you have great ideas or suggestions for teaching this lesson in a compelling way that will have a lasting impact on the brethren in the room, please send me an email or make a comment on this post. I welcome anything that could enhance the atmosphere of the meeting, improve the means by which I present the material, or provide a spiritual impact. In advance, thanks!

Professional school teachers and seminary or institute teachers: I am looking in your direction!

Teaching the Art of Jesus



by Seattle Jon (bio)


I found the following five ways to specifically emulate Jesus' teaching art - quoted from Lowell Bennion’s Legacies of Jesus - to be extremely insightful and helpful in my own life. How about you?

1 A trait that I prize very highly in Jesus' teaching and which I have tried to emulate in my own is his positiveness. Instead of "thou shalt not," he said "thou shalt" and "blessed are ..." To the lawyer who heard the good Samaritan parable and was forced to admit the answer to the question, Jesus responded not with mockery or by gloating, but with the simple, friendly admonition, "Go, and do thou likewise." Negative admonitions have their place, but positive statements win readier responses from beings whose free agency is the most fundamental fact of their nature. Also, we are doers, and a negative admonition is an order not to do. Positive injunctions have wider applications, I have found.

2 I see Jesus as very wise, even brilliant, in his interaction with people, including those with ulterior motives. I am not sure that such insight is always available to mere mortals, but I believe that humility might frequently be a good substitute. Rather than feeling obliged to share all of our wisdom, we could follow the model of Jesus, who frequently answered a question by asking another question. He made people think, clarify their motives, explore options for themselves, and prize the insights they gained thereby. For example, when such a person asked if it were lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, thus acknowledging the legal lordship of the country's hated rulers, Jesus called for a coin, asked his questioner whose image it bore, and thus led him into identifying the image as Caesar's: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21) As a teacher, I truly enjoy the process of helping people become their own teachers, rather than passively receiving instructions. Jesus' use of judicious questions is an effective way of accomplishing this end.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Giveaway 17: Zarahemla Books



Guess who noticed we love giving away books - Christopher Bigelow, owner and operator of Zarahemla Books. Christopher has generously offered us one copy of each of Zarahemla's 18 titles. So, this week, and several more times over the next few weeks, we will be giving away some of the most provocative, unconventional, yet ultimately faith-affirming books in Mormon literature.

In operation since 2006, Zarahemla Books publishes Mormon-oriented fiction, humor, and memoir, with an emphasis on adventurous Mormon stories that are unorthodox but not apostate. Theric Jepson, of A Motley Vision blog, calls Zarahemla "the most valuable brand in Mormon letters today" and "the Pixar of Mormon literature."


For this first giveaway, we have selected the following titles (click for book previews): Millstone CityWasatch: Mormon Stories and a NovellaAngel Falling Softly and Kindred Spirits. Giveaway guidelines are below.

Giveaway Guidelines:
You have THREE chances to enter. Each entry requires a separate comment.
1. Leave a comment on this post.
2. Like MMM on Facebook or share this post on Facebook. Leave a comment letting us know you did.
3. Follow MMM on Twitter or share this post on Twitter. Leave a comment letting us know you did.

• 7 days to enter (closes Sunday, October 28th at midnight).
• Winner announced Tuesday, October 30th.
• Can't wait? Buy Zarahemla's books now.

"Four Centuries of Mormon Stories" Discussion: The ReActivator



The Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest brings together very short stories about Mormon experience in the 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd centuries. Last week, six stories (read and discuss them here, here, here, here, here and here) took us through the first two centuries, and today on Modern Mormon Men, we're getting to the age of the internet and beyond with a discussion of Wm Morris's The Reactivator.

The Reactivator is a short story. Please go read it and then return here to respond in the comments to any aspect of the story, including the issues raised in the following discussion questions:

1) Serving through a quorum: hip or weird?

2) This piece depicts a live visit while making reference to digital modes of networking. How do you see the two ways of reaching others working as modes of connection in the Church today?

3) How much do you identify with this piece's protagonist? At what points in the story do you feel closest to or furthest from him?

Friday, October 19, 2012

MMM Sermons: Continue in Patience



by Saint Mark (bio)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call them "talks," but most (non)Christians call them sermons. This is a series of sermons that many Latter-day Saints love and believe. I hope these sermons promote and perfect your faith as they do mine. Read previous MMM Sermons or watch this specific sermon.

It probably was not President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's intention that I take his sermon so much to heart and experiment on my own children with marshmallows ... but I did. And I had some surprising results.

In April 2010 General Conference, President Uchtdorf used a scientist's experiment to illustrate the import of patience:
In the 1960s, a professor at Stanford University began a modest experiment testing the willpower of four-year-old children. He placed before them a large marshmallow and then told them they could eat it right away or, if they waited for 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallows.

Go Red For Women



by Seattle Jon (bio)

Women: Check out this informative video from Elizabeth Banks and the American Heart Association.
Men: Pay particular attention at the 2:37 mark to learn how to help protect your wife from heart attacks.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Sister Missionary Wish List



by Aimee (bio)


If Twitter, Facebook, and my text message activity are indicators of the excitement about the news regarding the new missionary age policy change, then it seems members are THRILLED about this announcement. Mormon social media was blowing up and there have been a number of fantastic articles discussing the cultural ripples this age change will have on our community (articles here, here, and here). This change means a lot to girls who can now leave when they turn 19 instead of 21. So much can happen in those two years! This earlier opportunity could drastically impact where a woman's life goes.

My friend, a dental hygienist in Lehi, told me that since last week there has been TONS of young ladies in her chair getting their dental exams for their mission papers. I've seen multiple Facebook statuses with young women announcing their plans to go, and my dad, who teaches early morning seminary, said the girls in the class talked about how this changes everything for their senior year of seminary. It looks like the ball is already rolling for the world to be flooded with more sisters! This excites me as I have a special place in my heart for sister missionaries. I think they are valuable beyond measure to the missionary efforts.

Since this announcement I have thought a lot about my mission. With the increase of sisters going on missions, and the ratio of elders to sisters balancing out, I have a few hopes I want to share about mission dynamics. A wish list of sorts.

Here we go.

1) More leadership opportunities.
I would hope to see the mission leadership structure changing to include more sisters. Honestly, I was glad sisters didn't have to get into the subtle political gaming that went on with some elders. We all know that elder who was running for AP and it really just seemed like it would be way too much energy. That being said, there were times that I wished I was able to break up the monotony of our day-to-day routine by traveling to see other missionaries and working with them in their areas like many district leaders, zone leaders, and assistants were able to do. The temple square sisters have leadership positions; clearly there is not a priesthood requirement. If the idea is to have sisters and elders serving "shoulder to shoulder," I think there could be some great changes to make this feel true.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MMM Search Term Roundup 7: February & March 2012



by Scott Heffernan (bio)

When someone finds Modern Mormon Men via search engine, we get to see what they typed to get here, giving us a small glimpse into the thought processes of those who happen upon our site. I think our readers need to see these, so I'll be sharing them monthly. Some are funny, some are sad, some are disturbing. Maybe we can work together to give some context or help answer some of those curious questions. WARNING: Although some of the more explicit entries have been excluded, saucier phrases that are included have not been edited. See them all here.

how important is it being the 2nd counsellor in a mormon bishopric
Slightly less important than being the 1st counsellor?

do mormons eat celery
Yeah, we just can’t smoke it.

boys to men sermons
Check out “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” or “End of the Road.”

do you have to have a license to be a morman
Only in the same sense that you need a license to ill.

keep mormonism weird
I don’t think we’re in any danger here.
















Words To Live By 3: The Hidden Power



by Seattle Jon (bio)

Words to Live By is a series featuring short selections by eminent men and women from the mid-twentieth century. Originally published in This Week magazine, the selections represent a mosaic of what people were thinking and feeling in challenging times. Read previous entries here.

The Hidden Power
by Lewis L. Strauss (former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission)

"As he thinketh in his heart, so is he." - Proverbs 23:7

It is so much easier to control our actions than our thoughts. Law and public sanctions help us keep our deeds in line - but only Conscience polices our thoughts.

Not long ago, meeting with several aging classmates, we talked about the events that had left their marks upon us when we were in high school together. Above all else, one occasion stood out clearly in all our minds. It was the day, nearly 50 years ago, when the governor of a distant state spoke at our high school assembly in my home town in Virginia. His theme was that a boy could mold his future as a man by the kind of thoughts he encouraged, and those he forbade himself to think. The text he used was, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

That thought, of all those brought to us as youngsters, made so deep an impression upon our minds that not one of us had forgotten it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Post: The Independent Voter in Today’s Political System



Born in Cheyenne and blown from his crib westward to California, David has lived on both coasts, in the middle and in Uruguay/Paraguay on his mission. He currently works in international development in Washington D.C. focusing on agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is twice married with 7 children and ten grandchildren located on both coasts and three continents. His youngest is currently serving a mission in the Philippines dodging mostly successfully (big) spiders in the shower. He and his wife, Mary-Anne, have traveled to 46 countries (Italy ranks #1). An ardent Giants fan, he loves watching the Dodgers lose. Yes, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth were the best who ever played the game. If he had just kept all his baseball cards ...

Recently I read with interest an article by Brad Oates entitled An Open Letter to Mitt Romney from Independent Americans. Brad's thoughtful and well-researched message prompted me to write him an extensive reply to which he kindly responded. Unfortunately, I found the comments to his article largely jumped to conclusions, were emotionally charged and even made judgments of the author without knowing him. The comments reminded me of an article by Hugh Nibley entitled Zeal Without Knowledge, an article whose title and message remains just as relevant today.

Speaking of which, let me share an intriguing part of a conversation my wife overheard recently between two women at a North Carolina craft fair:

Democrat: "I just can't vote for a Muslim and Obama is one of those. I'm sure of it."
Republican: "I worked with some Muslims and they were nice people, I just can't vote for Romney because he's a Mormon and I've worked with Mormons and I can't trust them."

The independent voter is a curious development. This voter finds no comfortable place in any of the existing political parties. These people may be on to something. George Washington wanted no party system. He wanted to ensure that the hard fought Revolutionary War did not create in any way a higher purpose or a prevailing sovereignty above the United States of America. He was a staunch Federalist, as opposed to Thomas Jefferson who strongly favored state rights to prevail. Consider Washington's words about political parties from his farewell address: "They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests."

Sound familiar?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Write A Proposal



by Seattle Jon (bio)

Our twelve year-old daughter recently came to us and asked, “Can we get a rabbit?” Now, rabbits are cute and soft and I think I’d probably like touching their ears, but we already have six chickens and we’ve made it clear that dad’s “allergies” make it difficult – no, damn near impossible – for us to put up with any more animals in or around the house.

We didn’t say no, though. Instead, we told her to write a proposal.

Why did we ask her to write a proposal when the answer was already “no?” Here are a few reason we’ve increasingly been using this strategy with our oldest. Maybe you could come up with a few reasons we haven’t thought of, and if so, please share them in the comments.
  1. Having your child write you a proposal delays the decision. Who knows, you might change your mind. Or your kid might change his or her mind. At the very least, the extra few hours (or days sometimes) gives you time to put some thought into your answer.

  2. Teaching kids to articulate what exactly it is they want, why they want it and what they’ll do to get and keep it can sometimes always be a challenge. Writing a proposal helps them do all three.

  3. Asking your child to write a proposal that you’ll review before making a decision makes them feel like more of an equal, which can sometimes, and with some kids, be a good thing.

  4. Your child will feel like they control their own destiny, even when they don’t.

  5. Learning to write a proposal will benefit your child in a thousand different career paths.

  6. Finally, having the ability to discuss/debate/debunk specific points THEY came up with makes it very difficult for them to argue with you if the answer is no. If the answer is yes (and we’ve had Ella write a proposal even though we knew the answer was yes), having specific points to point out and praise makes the exercise one of encouragement and self-esteem building – something that every pre-teen or teenager probably needs more of.
Back to the bunny proposal, we received the following a few days after the initial request. And while our answer was still a resounding NO!, the experience for her and us was a resounding YES! So, our proposal to you is to propose more proposals.

My Bunny Proposal

I would really like a bunny. Not a rabbit, but a bunny with floppy ears and glossy fur. I would like a baby bunny. I would keep it in the garage, and pay for her if you would pay for the cage and food. I could pay for the cage, maybe.

For my bunny I could get a good grade on some tests, run three miles, do babysitting jobs to pay for her, or even build my own cage. Whatever you want.

I would also take care of the bunny, changing the water, feeding her, and changing her shavings. I would name the bunny and give her all the love I have.

Ella

Author’s note: It was really hard saying no to this … don't tell her I said this, though.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Guest Post: Far Between



Jon Hastings lives in Portland, Oregon and is an accountant by day and by night and on occasional weekends is an associate producer for Far Between, a documentary that explores the experience of being homosexual and Mormon.


Every so often in the history of humankind, we are asked to confront important and difficult questions. Individually, we have our own personal questions and dilemmas with which we must engage throughout our lives, and on occasion some of those individual questions bubble up to become a concern and a quandary in the collective consciousness of humanity. It becomes a collective concern when it affects a critical mass of people and when it affects various aspects of our lives.

Currently, one of the questions we seem to find ourselves faced with is how we as a people reconcile emotional and sexual attractions that don’t seem to square with religious and spiritual beliefs. We are at a point where a growing number would probably concede that a person doesn’t choose to experience homosexual and homoemotional attractions. We may not know at this point how they develop or originate, but at this point it’s probably safe to say a majority would agree they exist and not at the choosing of the individual who experiences them.

At the same time, humanity has probably just as many beliefs/disbeliefs about who God is and how she and he feel about the various and different ways people experience these attractions as there are people who populate our shared globe.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Worst Thing in the World



by Ben Johnson (bio)

In the book 1984 the protagonist is arrested and taken to the Ministry of Love to be tortured. Although he is subjected to all manner of physical and mental horrors he remains defiant. In the end, however, his spirit is broken when he is taken to Room 101. His torturer explains why Room 101 is so effective: "The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." You see, the reason Room 101 is the worst thing in the world is because there you are subject to your own greatest fear.

I know exactly what I would be confronted with in Room 101. Unemployment. Even before I was married and had kids I shuddered at the thought that I someday might be a husband and a father and unemployed. Now, with a family of my own, I am even more acutely aware of the possibility.

On Saturday during the priesthood session the topic of unemployment was mentioned. The following quote was shared and it was like a punch to my chest:
A man out of work is of special moment to the Church because, deprived of his inheritance, he is on trial as Job was on trial—for his integrity. As days lengthen into weeks and months and even years of adversity, the hurt grows deeper, and he is sorely tempted to "curse God and die." ... The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul.
Two days after priesthood I saw this video. It hurt me. The thought of that scene playing out around my own dinner table shook me.

I've never been unemployed, but I have seen first-hand what can happen. My brother lost his job once. It was a good job with excellent benefits and he loved it. Then one day the word came down that he was on the cut list. Even with months of advance of notice, even with a generous severance package, and even with many job prospects, my brother was crushed. He lost something like 30 pounds because his mind was frenzied. He was in a bad way. Eventually he found another great job but that span of unemployment was rough.

I hope none of you reading this are unemployed, but if you are I want to help. I don't claim to know any great networking secrets, nor do I have big business hookups. My circle of friends is small and my professional success is meager. But I do work for a pretty big company and we always have job openings. I also have an email account, a phone, and some time. Maybe, just maybe, I might be able to help. If nothing else you can at least know someone is willing to listen if you want to vent. Perhaps among all the good folks on MMM we could do something? I sincerely hope I am not out of line here. I don't mean to be. I'm just offering to help in my own puny way.

From the depths of my soul I'm asking you not to give up. I feel for my unemployed brothers out there and I pray that I can help.

Here is my contact info:
benjohnson3478 [at] gmail dot com
(eight oh one) four four eight-seven one seven two

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MMM Quotes 12: Legacies of Jesus by L. Bennion



by Seattle Jon (bio)

The following quotes come from Lowell Bennion's Legacies of Jesus, a great little book on the Savior I recently finished. If you have a chance to read or buy the book, you should.

"For me, four aspects of religion are significant: the Church, ordinances and rituals, religious and ethical principles, and a religious orientation toward other human beings. But the most important of the four is other people – what happens to individuals as the result of a religion. The Church is not an end in itself, but a means of making gospel principles like faith and humility functional in the lives of people. Yes, even gospel principles are not the things of ultimate worth. Their value lies in how they bless human lives."

"Many people are disturbed when they find doubts intruding into their faith, particularly young people who, as a natural stage in their maturation, are questioning the simple faith of their childhood. I try to point out to them two facts: Jesus did not rebuke the father for his unbelief, and the father confessed his unbelief to the Savior in the context of asking for help. I believe that our Heavenly Father is pleased with such confession. What could make for healthier growth than expressing doubts in a context of faith? Indifference, it seems to me, is far deadlier to faith than doubt."

MMM Sermons: Good, Better, Best



by Saint Mark (bio)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call them "talks," but most non-Christians call them sermons. This is a series of sermons that many Latter-day Saints love and believe. I hope these sermons promote and perfect your faith as they do mine. Read previous MMM Sermons here or watch this specific sermon here.

If you have ever struggled to make a choice between good and good choices, then you will appreciate this sermon.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered this memorable sermon in General Conference of October 2007. Good, Better, Best is a revealing window into Elder Oaks' approach to preaching and analyzing the gospel. An attorney and former judge, Elder Oaks knows how to make obeying the commandments of God a rational, logical decision.

Here are some golden acorns from Elder Oaks (sorry, couldn't help it):
In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. A friend took his young family on a series of summer vacation trips, including visits to memorable historic sites. At the end of the summer he asked his teenage son which of these good summer activities he enjoyed most. The father learned from the reply, and so did those he told of it. "The thing I liked best this summer," the boy replied, "was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked." Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent ...

The number of those who report that their "whole family usually eats dinner together" has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together "eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children's academic achievement and psychological adjustment." Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children's smoking, drinking, or using drugs. There is inspired wisdom in this advice to parents: what your children really want for dinner is you ...

In general conference last year, Elder M. Russell Ballard warned against the deterioration of family relationships that can result when we spend excess time on ineffective activities that yield little spiritual sustenance. He cautioned against complicating our Church service "with needless frills and embellishments that occupy too much time, cost too much money, and sap too much energy. … The instruction to magnify our callings is not a command to embellish and complicate them. To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify. … What is most important in our Church responsibilities," he said, "is not the statistics that are reported or the meetings that are held but whether or not individual people—ministered to one at a time just as the Savior did—have been lifted and encouraged and ultimately changed."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This Mormon Moment Isn't For Us



by brettmerritt (bio)

via Salt Lake Tribune

Regardless of how you'll vote in this election, wasn't it sort of cool to see Mitt Romney on stage for the first 2012 Presidential Debate? There he was. Mitt Romney the Mormon candidate for POTUS.

Is it really our Mormon Moment? The term is so catchy. So encompassing. I love, love C. Jane Kendrick's opinion on the Mormon Moment. She, rightly, expresses a wariness of the term and the more I read about this exciting if not controversial Moment, the more I think we're missing a potentially golden opportunity.

I think the press that the Church has gotten is helpful. The interviews that many of our Brothers and Sisters have done in the public eye have been, for the most part, wonderful to read and watch. But ...

The Mormon Moment isn't about us. It's for them.

This isn't our time to finally talk about ourselves, dutifully police website comments, and share inspirational videos, although that's fine if you have the time to do that. Rather, I think it’s a chance for each of us to really be authentic, let the world observe, and enjoy their moment with us.

We need to be ourselves. Let that do the talking, even if that means letting people see our flaws, ecclesiastical and personal.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Post: Real Home Teaching



Kurt is the author of LeadingLDS, a website focused on cracking the code on home teaching, visiting teaching and church leadership in general. Kurt served a mission in Sacramento, California. He is married to a massage therapist (which means he never gets a massage) and has a new baby girl that thinks he is Superman. He tweets too!

The home teaching checklist:

Set the appointment ... check.
Knock on their door ... check.
Ask the "How's work?" question ... check.
Be the children's punching bag ... check.
Pet the family dog ... check.
Share brief Ensign lesson ... check.

Then comes the dreaded closing question. Near the end of the visit 99.3% of home teachers and visiting teachers ask the same question. (official study ... okay, not really)

IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO FOR YOU?

These words have a long history in the church. A separate unofficial study (that never happened) found that 99.4% of home teachees responded with the words, "No, we're fine." The reality is, this question makes the home teacher feel good but doesn't really bring a need to the surface.

I'm right there with you. I am the president of the Is-There-Anything-We-Can-Do-For-You Club. I have been whipping out that question since my mission ... until I changed my ways a few weeks ago when I read an article by Joseph Grenny called Coping with the Loss of a Loved One.

When we’re at a loss for what to say we often end with, “If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.” If you really want to do something, stop and think. Stop and think about everything you know about their lives. Where do they live? What little chores do they have to do to make it through the day? If they have experienced a loss, like the article suggests, what extra tasks will now fall on them because of the loss? Empathize as best you can until you find some proactive task you can do to communicate real compassion. It won’t matter if what you do isn't perfect; it just matters that you take initiative rather than assign them to involve you. They rarely will, so the offer rings hollow.

I now catch myself before blurting out the (in)famous question and really analyze the situation of the individuals I'm home teaching. What do they really need? What can I offer them that would lighten their load? Or I don't even ask. Imagine if they walked by their front window and realized you are already half-way done with mowing their lawn. A late afternoon phone call letting them know you have already made ravioli and are bring some over for their family. This is where home teaching begins -- real ministering.

Never state the words again: Is there anything we can do for you?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Sustaining of Church Officer Wives



by Seattle Jon (bio)


It is proposed that we sustain Frances Johnson Monson as the wife of our prophet, seer, and revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Kathleen Johnson Eyring as the wife of our First Counselor in the First Presidency; and Harriett Reich Uchtdorf as the wife of our Second Counselor in the First Presidency.

Those in favor may manifest it. Those opposed, if any, may manifest it.

It is proposed that we sustain Donna Smith Packer as the wife of the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the following as wives of members of that quorum:

Virginia Lee Perry (deceased), Barbara Taylor Dayton Perry, Dantzel White Nelson (deceased), Wendy Watson Nelson, June Dixon Oaks (deceased), Kristen McMain Oaks, Barbara Bowen Ballard, Jeanene Watkins Scott (deceased), Mary Crandall Hales, Patricia Terry Holland, Susan Kae Robinson Bednar, Mary Gaddie Cook, Katherine Jacob Christofferson, Kathy Williams Andersen.

Those in favor, please manifest it. Any opposed may so indicate.

It is proposed that we sustain the wives of the counselors in the First Presidency and the wives of the Twelve Apostles as women of dedication, perseverance, and faithfulness.

All in favor, please manifest it. Contrary, if there be any, by the same sign.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Prayer Roll



by Bishop Higgins (bio)

Image via annrkiszt

Our world is going to hell in a hand-basket, but that's no reason why we should stop going boating or learning a new skill, like whittling. But it is a reason why we should increase our prayers and give the people that need our help a gentle push from angels above.

I know what you're thinking. But Bishop, after we've asked for these donuts to nourish and strengthen our bodies, what else should we pray for? I'm so glad you asked because I have a mighty good list for you to consider.

1. Anyone who has fallen down a well and is still down there.
2. Not often, but every once in a while, you'll meet someone that still says, "You go girl." Let us pray for them.
3. I'm constantly praying that mosquitoes will become less "stingy." Won't you please join me in that prayer.
4. Let us pray that the U.S. continues to stockpile weapons just like Porter Rockwell and Jesus would want us to do.
5. Lazy people.
6. It's not a serious problem, but probably forgotten, so let us pray that very tall people (6 foot 5 inches and up) will be able to find attractive slacks -- without pleats -- without having to drive around to four different stores.
7. Let us pray for people that put sweaters on tiny dogs. They need our help.
8. Mitt Romney.
9. I think we should pray for limerick writers to come up with other things that rhyme with Nan Tucket.
10. Mitt Romney.

We Are the Music Makers



by Scott Heffernan (bio)

Just thought I'd quickly share these new designs I recently completed. Each series is part of a larger ongoing project, but the contract allows for me to list them in my own shop as well. I'm happy with how they've turned out. Thanks for looking!

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.” - Walt Whitman


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

30 Strangers Exhibit & Reception



by Seattle Jon (bio)

The 30 Strangers show is at the BYU Auditorium Gallery and has been up for a month, but a special artist's reception is happening tomorrow, October 4, 2012, from 6 - 9 p.m. Photographer Justin Hackworth will be there, of course, along with many of the participants that were photographed this year. And, you're bound to see other people you know, too.

The best part of the night will be at 7 p.m., when they'll have a short program in an adjacent auditorium. Four of the best writers in the state will read essays: Amy Hackworth, Kacy Faulconer, Lisa Valentine Clark, and Courtney Kendrick. There will also be music by Cherie Call. This sounds like a fantastic night, so head over to see the show!

What: 30 Strangers Exhibit & Artist's Reception
When: Thursday, October 4, 2012, 6 - 9 p.m. (readings and music at 7:00 p.m.)
Where: BYU Lee Library, Auditorium Gallery, 1st Floor

Snitches, Secret Combinations, and the Culture of Silence



by Saint Mark (bio)

Watching a public figure struggle to exhort gang members to share information with police and other legal authorities is painful. I fully support their pleadings, but to tackle an ideology of secrecy with only semiotic arguments does not seem to be the most effective approach.

So what is? How do you persuade a culture of silence to rat, snitch, backstab, double-cross and tell on each other when all they feel they have is one another?

It seems like an exercise in futility to approach situations like the following with only a speech:
Last year a Chicago mother was arrested after she allegedly drove her son and an accomplice to shoot a person they believed was a snitch.

The year before, a dying 17-year-old took the name of his killer to the grave.

"I know," Robert Tate reportedly said when asked if he knew who shot him in the chest, "but I ain't telling you."
What is the solution to crack the veil of secrecy of secret groups?

Young People's History



by Seattle Jon (bio)

Painting of Howard Zinn by Robert Shetterly

I recently finished Howard Zinn's A Young People's History of the United States, a book my two oldest children are also studying this year. I made the decision to study the book after reading the following passage in the book's introduction, a viewpoint on our nation's history that was remarkably similar to our family's viewpoint on the history of the mormon church.
Over the years, some people have asked me: "Do you think that your history, which is radically different than than the usual histories of the United States, is suitable for young people? Won't it create disillusionment with our country? Is it right to be so critical of the government's policies? Is it right to take down the traditional heroes of the nation, like Christopher Columbus, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt? Isn't it unpatriotic to emphasize slavery and racism, the massacres of Indians, the exploitation of working people, the ruthless expansion of the United States at the expense of the Indians and people in other countries?"

I wonder why some people think it is all right for adults to hear such a radical, critical point of view, but not teenagers or sub-teenagers? Do they think that young people are not able to deal with such matters? It seems to me it is wrong to treat young readers as if they are not mature enough to look at their nations's policies honestly. Yes, it's a matter of being honest. Just as we must, as individuals, be honest about our own failures in order to correct them, it seems to me we must do the same when evaluating our national policies.

Patriotism, in my view, does not mean unquestioning acceptance of whatever the government does. To go along with whatever your government does is not a characteristic of democracy. I remember in my own early education we were taught that it was a sign of a totalitarian state, of a dictatorship, when people did not question what their government did. If you live in a democratic state, it means you have the right to criticize your government's policies.
Perhaps seeing another side of history - both our nation's and the church's - will create disillusionment in our children. Perhaps we have no right to shine light on the shortcomings of our heroes. And perhaps it is unpatriotic and/or unfaithful to point out and explore some of the horrible events in our nation's and church's history. But then again, perhaps the question shouldn't be whether or not to teach these things, but when and how to teach them. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Less Is More



by Casey Peterson (bio)


I recently read about the Mabaan tribe, who live in the southern area of Sudan, near the border with Ethopia. This is an area of extreme quiet, which has led to a remarkable ability of the people to hear on an astonishingly acute level. Reportedly the Mabaan can hear a fellow tribesman whispering from across a wide field.

At the recent temple dedication of the Brigham City Temple, a contrast was explained when talking about church members in New York City. It was explained that with the frenetic sounds of Manhattan, people become accustomed so much, that when they enter the temple, experiencing peace and quiet is striking for them.

At birth, our ears can discern more than 300,000 sounds, but after years of exposure to loud noises, the hair cells on the cochlea flatten and become less sensitive. Our brains process sounds a thousand time faster than images we see, and so noise affects everything from our concentration to our health. Too much noise can raise blood pressure, and even make us sick, hence the word noise originates from the Latin word nausea (scientific insight on the term from parents "I'm sick of your music"). Yet positive noise, like uplifting music, can accelerate learning, improve moods, and uplift the mind and spirit. I watch in amazement as my wife teaches children music classes, and how the power of music physically, cognitively, and emotionally transforms kids.

Acoustics are especially interesting for me. After the death of my father when I was four years old, I temporarily lost my hearing. I remember the feelings of confusion in trying to communicate, and the helplessness of others in knowing how to talk to me and treat me. However, though I lacked auditory senses, I began to discover other senses that had perhaps been precluded by noise. When I did regain my hearing, we moved to a large cattle ranch and I was quickly shown the opposite end of the sound spectrum. Moving large herds of cattle, often numbering over 1000 at a time, generated all kinds of sounds. The cows all begin mooing to find their calves, with calves also mooing to locate their separated mothers. I was taught to yell loudly over the din of the cattle to keep them moving, but also to know the proximity to other cowboys, whose location often couldn't be seen through the haze of the churned dust or the thickness of brush and trees. My young lungs weren't big enough to generate much force, so I had to shout my very loudest at the cattle. I thought the force made a difference in getting them going, though looking back I'm sure the high range of my prepubescent voice struck some fear in their bovine hearts.

Every Kid Should Have a Pet Rat



by jpaul (bio)


A few Saturdays back, my wife had a photo shoot and I was in charge of our three kids (5, 3, 1) for a few hours. She should have known that leaving me alone with the kids on a Saturday morning was not going to end well. Being a wise husband, I decided the first thing we needed to do was leave the house so that it wouldn't be a disaster when my wife got home. Unfortunately, summers in Houston are unbearable, so going outside was not an option. I decided our best alternative to playing outside was to go to the Better Zoo. This is the name our family has given PetCo, since it is like the zoo, but better in two very important ways; it is free and it is air-conditioned.

I say it's free, but I guess that is only if you decide not to buy anything, which is what we usually do … not today. We passed by the small mammal section and spotted some rats that we just couldn't pass up. My son chose his favorite "feeder rat," which are meant to be fed to a snake, and named him Ratty. Hopefully words just popped into your mind like "gross" or "disgusting" ... perfect, read on.

Monday, October 1, 2012

In Memory of Richard Cracroft and the "Book Nook"



by Scott Hales (bio)

Mormon letters recently lost one of its greatest champions, Professor Richard H. Cracroft, who passed away on Thursday, September 20, at the age of 76. From 1963 to 2001, Professor Cracroft taught English at Brigham Young University, served as the dean of the College of Humanities, coordinated the American Studies program, and directed the Center of Christian Values in Literature. He also served faithfully in various church callings, including bishop, stake president, and mission president for the Switzerland Zürich Mission.

Unfortunately, I never got a chance to meet Professor Cracroft. I will always remember him, though, as the author of Attuning the Authentic Mormon Voice: Stemming the Sophic Tide in LDS Literature, an important essay on Mormon literary criticism. I will also remember his monthly "Book Nook" column in BYU Magazine, which he used to introduce readers to lesser-known books by Mormon authors. When Professor Cracroft's health problems forced him to discontinue the column last year, BYU Magazine lost its one true gem.

In honor of Professor Cracroft's life and work, I'd like to do a one-time Book Nook column of my own here on MMM. As a rule, Professor Cracroft always limited his column to books by BYU graduates. I'm not going to be that strict. I hope he doesn't mind.

Hephzibah by Emmeline B. Wells
In 2012, Mormon novelists are as common as pennies under the couch. But that wasn't the case in 1889 when Emmeline B. Wells serialized Hephzibah in The Women's Exponent. Since it was never published in book form, though, this novel—the first, I believe, by a Mormon woman—was forgotten about. Fortunately, Ben Crowder and folks at the Mormon Texts Project have painstakingly transcribed the book from digitized issues of the Exponent, edited it for clarity, and made it available for free in various e-book formats on their website.

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