Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That Great Day When There Will Be An End to Patriarchy



by Shawn Tucker:


Imagine if you woke up one morning and it had all rolled back. Your wife no longer had a job or even interest in having a job. She was at home patiently waiting for orders from you. Instead of having her own thoughts or plans or ideas, she lived only to serve and support you. All of which is to say that she was very, very dependent upon you. She did little or nothing without your explicit or at least tacit consent, down to the smallest activity. And imagine that your daughters, if they were not married already to men who ruled their lives, then now they are underpaid and disrespected nurses or elementary school teachers. You may have a daughter off at college but, by her own admission, she’s only there to get her “Mrs” degree. Your daughters, in fact all of your children, are as dependent upon you as your wife. They do little on their own without seeking first your approval. For every decision in the family, whether great or small, you must make it alone. You might talk to some other men about it or maybe look in the scriptures for some guidance—books written by men for men—but patriarchy demands that you make every decision and that every decision be flawless. This is the world where father must know what is best in every situation and all the time and for everyone involved. This is patriarchy, and it puts an impossible demand and weight on men while it robs women and other powerless people of participation and of a full voice in making decisions.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My 22 Point Opinion About Temple Sealings for Gay Couples



by Shawn Tucker:


A friend recently asked my opinion about temple sealings for gay couples. I don’t know why anyone cares about my opinion. I’m not proselyting my view; I’m merely stating my opinion in 22 bullet points.

1. People don't choose to be gay, to be only sexually attracted to people of their same sex.
2. No one, I believe, would make that choice, since it is so socially frowned upon and since it does not lend itself to the advantages (of which there are many!) of heterosexual marriage.
3. Since they don't choose it, and since it is really born in them, I believe the gay people I know when they say that they do not feel that their attraction is wrong or a sin.
4. Mormons typically think that such attraction is inherently wrong and against God's plan, while gay people, especially gay Mormons, do not believe that their attraction is wrong or sinful.
5. Mormons see heterosexual attraction as normal, natural, and even God-given.
6. I believe gay Mormons when they say that they believe that their homosexual attraction is normal, natural, and God-given for them.
7. Homosexual marriage seems to interrupt God's plan, since such couples cannot have children in the traditional manner.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dear LDS Church: What Have You Done?



by Luke Warmer:


Dear LDS Church: What Have You Done?

Even for a church that believes homosexuality is a sin, this decision is a deeply heartbreaking head-scratcher. (See article of faith #2. The one that talks about their own sins and not Adam’s transgressions.)

If I were to guess, I would assume that this decision is born out of some fear of legal action from gay parents. And as church members we are left to wonder what it means when it appears that the church has compromised the spirit of the second of its Articles of Faith in order to be better positioned in a culture war against homosexuality.

I feel a deep concern for every gay child being brought up in the church.

For me, as a person with gay marriage on both sides of my family and three boys at home (ages 7, 4, and 1), I am left to debate whether I can attend a church in good conscience knowing full-well that the likelihood of at least one of my children being gay is much higher than average.

This is a heartbreaking day for families hoping for deeper empathy around the issue of the church’s stance on homosexuality.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Letter to a Muslim Youth Education Director: A Response to Jeremy Runnells



by Shawn Tucker:


Jeremy Runnells’ Letter to a CES Director has been a fairly popular topic for some time. People I respect, like Jacob and others have responded to it. I don’t know why you should care what I think, but apparently you are still reading, so here goes.

How Would You Read a Letter to a Muslim Youth Education Director?

So that’s my first question. If the same book were written about Islam or Buddhism or Catholicism or Presbyterianism, how would you read it? I can think of many different approaches, but personally I would never bother reading such a book. The point of the book seems to be to apply fun house mirror-like exaggerations to every flaw or thing that could be seen as a flaw. After this fun house mirror exaggerates lots of little flaws, the next step seems to be to convince you that all of those little flaws or seeming inconsistencies add up to something big. From what I can tell, next you are supposed to get the message that the church is untrustworthy. This untrustworthiness is supposed to seem so big, so absolute, and so “true” that you “must” abandon it. This untrustworthiness then becomes the lens through which you view everything in the chuch, and this cynical approach reinforces the untrustworthiness. Finally, in order to act with “integrity” and “in good conscience” to the cynical, exaggerated view you have adapted, you must end your participation.

What would you think of a book that did the same thing about any other religion? Again, I would never bother to read such a book. It would not tell me anything useful or good about those faith traditions. Instead, it seems like it would try to use different exaggerations to convince me that something evil is behind them and that they should be avoided if not fought against. To put it another way, such a book would not tell me what is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy about any of those traditions.

Who Would Read Such a Book?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Suffragette: An LDS Perspective



by LJ:

This is me and Holly Washburn at a Suffragette screening. I'm holding up two Vs for Victory in a nod to Winston Churchill. It's not two peace signs, though peace is a good thing too.

I went with my friend Holly to see a screening of "Suffragette" about the women's rights movement in Britain in the late 19th century, and cried myself dehydrated.

Frankly, I was confused why this movie affected me so deeply. My life is embarrassingly good, compared to a washerwoman in 19th century London. My parents were middle-class, loving people with good education. My mother was (and still is) a powerhouse who taught me I could accomplish anything with enough hard work and elbow grease. I graduated from college. I married a man who brings home the bacon, then comes home to wrangle three kids, cook dinner (sometimes) and mop the floor (always) so I have time to write fiction.

But those tears, people. The tears. I am usually good at muscling them down when Hollywood throws an emotional potshot. But there's one scene where Carey Mulligan's character [SPOILER ALERT] finds out her estranged husband is adopting out their son to another family, and she has no say in the matter. I broke down into quiet sobs and Holly kindly slipped me the stack of napkins, originally intended for popcorn grease. I used all but two of them.

Monday, October 19, 2015

'Doubt,' 'Cult' and the Stigmatizing of Words



by Rob T:


When I finally told my parents that I had been investigating the LDS Church and taking lessons from the missionaries, it was agreed upon that I would talk about these matters with our Catholic priest.

I went to him and told him what I’d been learning. His first words in response about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were, “But they’re a sect, almost cultic!”

Let me first say that he is a good man, a kind priest, and a fair-minded leader. I hold no animosity toward him or my former faith - and disagreement with doctrine does not mean animosity, I think that’s important to this discussion.

But I do believe his response comes from a human tendency and a mindset that people can be scared away from something with one word. Certain words have been stigmatized to the point where they’re like Mr. Yuk stickers, and it’s all we need to hear to keep us away from something.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Three New Apostles Called



by John English:


All three of the new Apostles come across as good men who will be positive influences and leaders in the Church for the next three decades.

The last time there were three Apostles called in one General Conference was 1906. That time they had George F. Richards (45), Orson F. Whitney (50), and David O. McKay (32). I haven't been able to find why Richards had seniority over Whitney, but there was precedent to seniority not being determined by age when more than one Apostle is called at the same time. Now every time there's been two Apostles called, their seniority has been determined by age. (Kimball-Benson, Nelson-Oaks, Uchtdorf-Bednar).

This time the three Apostles called are Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson, and Dale G. Renlund. Stevenson is the youngest of the three, and my guess as to why Stevenson has seniority over Renlund is that Rasband and Stevenson were going to be the two new Apostles, but then the death of Richard G. Scott meant Pres. Monson wanted to find the third Apostle before General Conference. Or it could be deferrence to their previous Priesthood offices.

RONALD A. RASBAND (64) - He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He served his mission in the Eastern States and attended the University of Utah. LeGrand Richards performed the marriage sealing for him and his wife Melanie. (LeGrand was her great-uncle; the previously mentioned apostle George F. Richards was her great-grandfather.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Language of Prayer



by Tanner:


Disclaimer: I am a believer that people do and should pray in more than formal prayers. Let people pray how and where they may. I do.

I am a devout individual and have often found myself trying to make reason of some doctrine, principle, or event from the scriptures. Everyone has what I call "objects of consideration,"or some idea that they fixate on as a root or contingency point for making sense of other ideas or simply fixate on for some other reason. For some it may be following the prophet, the creation, the Abrahamic covenant, the eternal nature of the atonement, etc. It could also be the separation of roles in the gospel and church, e.g. priesthood and motherhood. One of my "objects of consideration" has long been the language of prayer.

I am a linguist and polyglot. In other words, I speak a few languages, study language, and language is the object of my professional career. For a long time I have been bothered that English speaking members of the church are encouraged to pray using the archaic pronoun "thou" instead of the normal "you." "Thou" survives today for formal and solemn settings and purposes. However, "thou" is actually the informal, singular, second person pronoun.

A lesson about the history of the English language.

The pronoun "you" is the descendant of the plural and formal "Ye." Actually, "You" is the direct object form of "Ye," as in "Ye love me, I love you." After the Norman French speaking William the Conquerer took over England in 1066, French quickly became the ruling language. French was forced on the English people. Have you ever wondered why the English, a germanic language, has so many latin roots and alternative? The Norman conquest of England is a large part of it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Food Horrors



by Eliana:


My husband told me he'd found a cute little croissant shop for us to try for breakfast. The whole family was excited when we left the hotel the next morning. When we arrived, it wasn't crowded which surprised me in such a touristy area. There were indeed hundreds or thousands of croissants inside, on racks organized by filling. Plain, chocolate, manzana (apple), etc.

Just one problem. At least two hundred bees.

All over the food, plus flying around the air. I tried to be cool and get croissants from the non-infested racks. This proved impossible. Some shelves had just one bee to every three croissants. Others had ten bees per croissant. I can honestly say, I'll be having nightmares for the rest of my life.

Also, I somehow did buy four croissants. They weren't very good.

Dear readers, please share your stories of disgusting or terrifying food experiences. Solidarity will help us all to heal.

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Eliana Osborn was raised on cold weather and wild animals in Anchorage, Alaska, setting the stage for her adult life in the Sunniest Place on Earth in Arizona. She grew up in the church and didn't know there were places where conformity was preached. She has degrees. She writes. She teaches. She has some kids. She even has a husband. She's trying to do her best. Twitter: Eliana0Eliana. Website: elianaosborn.com.
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gifImage credit: poppet with a camera (used with permission).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sacrament Hymns: More Than Just #169–197



by Peter Shirts:


As a musician, I put a lot of thought into choosing hymns for sacrament meeting when I’ve had that responsibility. I try to make each sacrament meeting a mix of familiar and less familiar hymns. I save the long hymns for the opening and the short ones for closing. If there’s an intermediate hymn, I pick a lively one and make everyone stand up (1). I make sure the chosen hymns haven’t been sung too recently to give variety. I pick hymns that fit the theme of the meeting, and not always the obvious ones (2). I change up which verses are sung, picking only two verses or even just the odd verses (3), or actually singing the extra verses below the music (4).

Why do I do this? I want the congregation to not just go through the motions, but to really think about the music and the messages there. I love it when I can see emotions in people’s faces when something in the hymn clicks for them, and often they reflect that emotion back on me (5).

But doing something different for the sacrament hymn (the hymn played while the priests break up the bread just before the emblems are passed to the congregation) is hard. The sacrament section (#169–197) is one of the most well-trodden parts of our 1985 hymnbook, because it only takes about 6 months to cycle through all of them (and I don’t think most choristers keep track to make sure they hit them all, like I do).

Friday, August 14, 2015

MMM Movies: Once I Was A Beehive



by Seattle Jon:


I was never a beehive, nor have I ever been to Girls Camp, but neither stopped me from enjoying Once I Was A Beehive. The movie, which stars a number of former MMM contributors (Hailey Smith AKA May Jones, Brett Merritt, Ken Craig), tells the story of Lane Speer, a 16 year-old girl dealing with the loss of her father who is dragged off to Girls Camp with a bunch of young Mormon girls.

I knew going in Hailey had helped write and produce the film, so was less skeptical of being entertained by new mormon cinema than I might otherwise have been. I'm no movie critic, but I found most of the characters engaging, the writing and pacing good and the humor humorous. I even snorted out-loud twice - once when Lane's dad mentions he got a "killer Groupon" for the honeymoon and then again when the bishop listens to the Hunger Games on audiobook in his tent.

I watched the movie with my 15 year-old daughter (who herself has just returned from Girls Camp) and my mother. Here is what they had to say.

My mom: This light-hearted story will bring nostalgic laughs to any female lucky enough to have ever attended an LDS Girls camp. Unique personalities thrown together for a week in nature create both hilarious situations and tension along the way as they are forced to work together as a team. As a result, Lane, her cousin, and all the other participants learn valuable life lessons and Lane, herself, begins to see that peace is possible amongst her new family and friends. Get some popcorn, sit down with your family, and enjoy 119 minutes of laughter and fun.

My daughter: Last night I watched a new movie called Once I Was a Beehive with my family. As I sat down, what I expected to be a cheesy Mormon movie was actually a well-written and humorous film that I related to a LOT. I recently got back from my fourth and last year as a camper at girls camp, and in the ending of the movie the main character Lane says that when her mom asked her how it went she couldn't describe it. I realized how true this was, because unless the one asking was there you can't really tell people what it was like. There are no words for the bonds of friendship and the feeling of complete acceptance I always feel during camp. There were so many scenes in the movie where I would laugh and say, "Oh my gosh that's so true!" During the testimony meeting in the movie, they showed two of the girls hugging each other and crying uncontrollably on the bench with a pile of tissues, which is a pretty good reenactment of what happens during testimony meetings in real girls camps. This year at camp, I grew closer to a number of girls I hadn't really talked to before, and since next year I'm going to be a YCL (Youth Camp Leader) I thought that getting to know as many girls as I could would help in case I get to look after them for the week. In the movie, the two YCLs were a little clicky and really struggled with their pride when the younger girls would have to help them. At the end, though, the two YCLs realized that all of their fellow campers could teach them something and had helped their testimonies and spirits grow more than they could have imagined. I would definitely recommend Once I Was a Beehive as an excellent family movie for anyone, not just those in the Mormon religion. This movie provides good explanations of some of the Mormon traditions and also a good laugh for the girls who have been to camp because of how hilariously relatable it is.

Check out the trailer below and go see the movie in your local theater!



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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, two cats and four chickens.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Advice For My 16 Year-Old Son About Stepping Up His Game w/Girls



by Shawn Tucker:


The only thing more awkward than this post about helping my son learn how to be confident talking with girls is the fact that I discussed these ideas with him recently when he was trapped in the car with me. It is interesting to watch your child consider the implications of throwing himself out of a car going 65 miles per hour on a freeway. Luckily he chose to smile, nod, and think of something else while I gave him a version of the following advice. And now I’d like to spread the awkwardness around the interwebs. Here’s my advice to a 16-year-old modern Mormon young man on how to step up his game with girls:

1. Be 16. What this means is be patient with yourself and allow yourself to grow into being someone who is confident with women. Frankly, 16-year-old girls are like 16-year-old boys, and, yes I will say it, most girls are just as awkward around boys as you are around them. And hey, you like them, so…

2. Keep in mind one goal: helping her feel at ease, safe, comfortable, and getting to know her. When you are getting to know a girl your age, keep in mind that your goal is to get to know her. Do what you can to actually listen to her. Care enough about what she’s saying to hear it and to perhaps even show her you’re listening by remembering what she says and say it back to her. You can go a long way by later on saying something like, “I remember when you told me that you quit playing soccer because you had such a bad coach—that must have really sucked for you!” Saying things like this show you care enough to listen and think about what she has told you, but keep in mind to be genuine about this, since the goal is helping her feel safe and at ease.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Guessing the Next Two Apostles (Part 3)



This is the third in a three-part post running this week. Part 1 here, part 2 here.
This final section looks at possibilities in North America.

by John English:

NORTH AMERICA

1st Q70
2003 - Marvyn B. Arnold - 7/19/1948 - 67 - USA-UT
2006 - Shayne M. Bowen - 8/29/1954 - 60 - USA-ID
2006 - Craig A. Cardon - 12/30/1948 - 66 - USA-AZ
2006 - Don R. Clarke - 12/11/1945 - 69 - USA-ID
2015 - Kim B. Clark - 3/20/1949 - 66 - USA-UT
2011 - Carl B. Cook - 10/15/1957 - 57 - USA-UT
2008 - Lawrence E. Corbridge - 4/6/1949 - 66 - USA-ID
2011 - LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. - 8/1/1952 - 62 - USA-UT
2010 - Kevin R. Duncan - 10/6/1960 - 54 - USA-UT
2012 - Larry J. Echo Hawk - 8/2/1948 - 66 - USA-WY (Pawnee)
2012 - Stanley G. Ellis - 1/22/1947 - 68 - USA-ID
2005 - David F. Evans - 8/11/1951 - 63 - USA-UT
2012 - Robert C. Gay - 9/1/1951 - 63 - USA-CA
2010 - Gerrit W. Gong - 12/23/1953 - 61 - USA-CA (Chinese)
2005 - C. Scott Grow - 5/1/1948 - 67 - USA-ID
2008 - James J. Hamula - 11/20/1957 - 57 - USA-CA
2015 - Allen D. Haynie - 8/29/1958 - 56 - USA-UT
2005 - Paul V. Johnson - 6/24/1954 - 61 - USA-FL
2015 - Von G. Keetch - 3/17/1960 - 55 - USA-UT
2015 - Hugo Montoya - 4/2/1960 - 55 - USA-CA (Latino)
2006 - Marcus B. Nash - 3/26/1957 - 58 - USA-WA
2013 - S. Gifford Nielsen - 10/25/1954 - 60 - USA-UT
2009 - Brent H. Nielson - 12/8/1954 - 60 - USA-ID
2008 - Allan F. Packer - 7/7/1948 - 67 - USA-UT
2008 - Kevin W. Pearson - 4/10/1957 - 58 - USA-UT
2006 - Anthony D. Perkins - 7/22/1960 - 55 - USA-CO
2005 - Paul B. Pieper - 10/7/1957 - 57 - USA-ID
1995 - Bruce D. Porter - 9/18/1952 - 62 - USA-NM
2009 - Dale G. Renlund - 11/1/1952 - 62 - USA-UT
2009 - Michael T. Ringwood - 2/14/1958 - 57 - USA-UT
2001 - Steven E. Snow - 11/23/1949 - 65 - USA-UT
2015 - Vern P. Stanfill - 8/8/1957 - 57 - USA-MT
2011 - W. Christopher Waddell - 6/28/1959 - 56 - USA-CA
2012 - Scott D. Whiting - 4/1/1961 - 54 - USA-UT
1995 - W. Craig Zwick - 6/30/1947 - 68 - USA-UT

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Guessing the Next Two Apostles (Part 2)



This is the second in a three-part post to run this week. Part 1 here.

by John English:

Continuing from Monday, it's been a while since someone from the Presiding Bishopric was called as an Apostle, so I'll profile those three next.

PRESIDING BISHOPRIC

GARY E. STEVENSON, 59, served his mission in Japan and later went back as president of the Japan Nagoya mission. He was the COO of ICON Health. He was called to the 1st Quorum of 70 in 2008 but then called as Presiding Bishop in 2012. Career expertise: Business

GERALD CAUSEE, 51, was born in France, and after getting his MBA, he worked as a general manager for Ponoma, France's largest food distributor. He was a stake president and area authority before being called into the 1st Quorum of 70 in 2008. He became 1st Counselor in Presiding Bishopric in 2012. Career expertise: Business

DEAN M. DAVIES, 64, served his mission in Uruguay and Paraguay before being president of the Puerto Rico San Juan mission. He worked in real estate and construction before Pres, Hinckley asked him to work for the church, overseeing construction of churches and temples. He was then called to be 2nd counselor in 2012. Career expertise: Real Estate

Now to explore possibilities in the 1st and 2nd Quorums of Seventy. I will highlight different regions of the world and who might come from there. The year is when they were called to the Seventy.

AFRICA

2013 - Edward Dube - 5/12/1962 - 53 - Zimbabwe
2001 - Christoffel Golden - 6/1/1952 - 63 - South Africa
2009 - Joseph W. Sitati - 5/16/1952 - 63 - Kenya

Joseph W. Sitati joined the church in 1986. He was the first black African general authority. He was the first stake president of Kenya. He worked in the oil and gas industry before working as the director of the church's public affairs in Africa. He was president of the Nigeria Uyo mission before getting called to the Seventy. If someone from Africa is called, I'd give him the edge.

However, Edward Dube is ten years younger and if they want to make the Quorum younger (Bednar is the youngest Apostle, at age 63), I could see them going with him. He joined the church in 1984 and served a mission in South Africa and Zimbabwe two years later. He worked in CES in Zimbabwe for the church and was president of the Zimbabwe Harare mission.

ASIA & PACIFIC ISLANDS

2009 - Yoon Hwan Choi - 5/18/1957 - 58 - South Korea
2007 - Michael John U. Teh - 6/25/1965 - 50 - Philippines
2014 - Chi Hong (Sam) Wong - 5/25/1962 - 53 - Hong Kong
2011 - Kazuhiko Yamashita - 9/1/1953 - 61 - Japan
2009 - Koichi Aoyagi - 3/24/1945 - 70 - Japan
2011 - O. Vincent Haleck - 1/1/1949 - 66 - Samoa

Chi Hong (Sam) Wong was the first speaker in General Conference to give his address in a language other than English (Cantonese). Wong hails from Hong Kong. He joined the church in 1982 and went to school and BYU-Hawaii before moving back to Hong Kong. his background is in business, but his unique perspective could really help the church open up China.

Michael John U. Teh would be younger than Bednar was when he was called. He's the second Filipino to be a general authority, and he's spent his career working for the church, lastly as a manager for their statistical records division.

Yoon Hwan Choi is currently president of the Washington Seattle mission. Kazuhiko Yamashita is currently president of the Japan Nagoya mission.

AUSTRALIA

2011 - Ian S. Ardern - 2/28/1954 - 61 - New Zealand
2013 - Terence M. Vinson - 5/1/1951 - 64 - Australia

Ian S. Ardern works for CES in New Zealand, and he was president of the Fiji Suva mission.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Guessing the Next Two Apostles (Part 1)



This is the first in a three-part post to run this week.

by John English:

I did a previous post on guessing who the next Apostle might be, but we've hit a rare section in time in the LDS church when two Apostles will be called at the same time. This has happened before. Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar were called together in 2004. Russell M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks were called together in 1984 (though Oaks had to wait a month to be set apart). Before that you have to go back to Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson in 1943. When two Apostles are called the same day, the older one has seniority.

Never in the history of the LDS Church has an Apostle been called that the prophet wasn't already acquainted with on some level.

I wanted to expand the field in this post, look at a broader section of who it could be, and also take into account two being called at the same time. But first, let's look at the current 13, and where they came from. (By seniority)

THOMAS S. MONSON - Called to be an Apostle at age 36 in 1963. No one has been called that young since. He'd served as a bishop but more importantly as a mission president in Canada and then Editor of the Deseret News. He would have had regular contact with church leaders, allowing them to know him and consider him as a candidate when a vacancy arose. Monson in particularly worked with Gordon B. Hinckley, who ran the Church's public affairs before being called as an Apostle two years before Monson. Monson also at one point had Harold B. Lee for a stake president. Career expertise: Publishing

RUSSELL M. NELSON - Called to be an Apostle at age 59 in 1984. He came about his service in a rare way. He performed open-heart surgery on Spencer W. Kimball in 1972, around the same time he was called to be Sunday School General President. He served in that calling for eight years and then a regional representative for four years when he was called to be an Apostle. Career expertise: Medicine

DALLIN H. OAKS - Called to be an Apostle at age 51 in 1984. Oaks was well-known by the Brethren when they called him to be president of BYU, where he served for nine years. He then instantly joined the Utah Supreme Court but resigned from that once he was called to be an Apostle. Oaks was not currently serving in church leadership when he was called. Career expertise: Law, Church Education

M. RUSSELL BALLARD - Called to be an Apostle two days before his 57th birthday in 1985. He was the grandson of apostle Hyrum M. Smith and great-grandson of Joseph F. Smith. On his other side, he was the grandson Melvin J. Ballard, who served for years in the Q12 with Gordon B. Hinckley's uncle Alonzo. He was a mission president when he was called to join the First Quorum of the Seventy, and he was in the Presidency of the Seventy when called to be an Apostle. At the time, Pres. Kimball and 1st Counselor Marion G. Romney were incapacitated, so this calling likely came from 2nd Counselor Hinckley as anyone else. Ballard's daughter married David B. Haight's grandson. Career expertise: Business

RICHARD G. SCOTT - Called to be an Apostle at age 59 in 1988. His father worked closely with Ezra Taft Benson in Washington DC. He was a misson president, then a regional representative, then joined the First Quorum of Seventy, then in the Presidency of the Seventy when called. Career expertise: Nuclear Science

ROBERT D. HALES - Called to be an Apostle at age 61 in 1994. He was called to the First Quorum of Seventy in 1976, then he served as Presiding Bishop the nine years leading up to his calling as Apostle and was considered key in balancing church finances in the 1980's and 1990's. He'd run several successful businesses before his calling. Career expertise: Business

JEFFREY R. HOLLAND - Called to be an Apostle at age 53 in 1994. He succeeded Oaks as President of BYU. Nine years later he went straight from there to the First Quorum of Seventy. he also served as Commissioner of the Church Educations System (CES). Career expertise: Church Education

HENRY B. EYRING - Called to be an Apostle at age 61 in 1995. He was the third Apostle in as many General Conferences to be called, and after him, the Church went nine years before another one was needed. He is married to Pres. Kimball's niece. He was president of Rick's College. He was a Commissioner of CES. He was a Counselor to Hales in the Presiding Bishopric, and he was in the First Quorum of Seventy when he was called to be an Apostle. Career expertise: Business, Physics, Church Education

DIETER F. UCHTDORF - Called to be an Apostle at age 63 in 2004. He'd been a stake president, in the 2nd Quorum of Seventy, 1st Quorum of Seventy, then in Presidency of Seventy when called to be an Apostle. Career expertise: Aviation, Business

DAVID A. BEDNAR - Called to be an Apostle ate age 51 in 2004. He succeeded Eyring as president of Ricks' College and helped transition it into BYU-Idaho. He was an area authority while he worked at BYUI. Career expertise: Church Education

QUENTIN L. COOK - Called to be an Apostle at age 67 in 2007. His mother was a Kimball, so he's second-cousins with Spencer W. He was a missionary companion of Holland. He went from bishop to stake president to area authority to 2nd Quorum of Seventy to 1st Quorum of Seventy to Presidency of the Seventy to Apostle. Career expertise: Business, Law

D. TODD CHRISTOFFERSON - Called to be an Apostle at age 63 in 2008. Richard G. Scott was his mission president when he served his mission. He was called to the 1st Quorum of Seventy in 1993 and in the Presidency of the Seventy in 1998. He was executive director for the Family & Church History Department. Career expertise: Law

NEIL L. ANDERSEN - Called to be an Apostle at age 57 in 2009. He'd been called the the 1st Quorum of Seventy in 1993 and into the Presidency of the Seventy in 2005. Career expertise: Business

So these are their experiences and how they may have been known before they will called. One should expect there will be prior relationships for the new Apostles. So first let's look at the likely pool of talent.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Temple Square Stereoscopics and GIFs



by Scott Heffernan:

On a recent trip to Salt Lake City we stopped by Temple Square. The temple grounds have always fascinated me. I often feel a strange aura there. There's the cheerful families and tourists that give it a sense of levity. At the same time there's sort of a ghostly air filled with esoteric symbolism, deep longing, and moodiness. I took some photographs on our visit not intending to put them together like this. However, I noticed later on that pairing some of them up created that quirky combination of mysticism and frivolity I experience at the Salt Lake Temple.






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Scott Heffernan is a graphic designer and photographer in Seattle. He works on the creative team at Archie McPhee doing all manner of strange things. He grew up a child of the ‘80s in Salt Lake City, served a mission to England/Wales, and got a degree in American Sign Language from the University of Utah. After marrying his sweetheart, they moved to Seattle and had three beautiful baby boys together. He loves toys, skateboarding, and thrift store shopping and has impeccable Modar. Twitter: @ScottHeffernan. Tumblr: ScottHeff.tumblr.com.
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gifImages: Scott Heffernan (used with permission).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why I Dislike the Confederate Flag



by Shawn Tucker:


I don’t know if I can call myself a “Southerner.” I have lived in North Carolina for 15 years, and I lived in Tallahassee, Florida for four more. I also lived in Oklahoma for three, but that’s on the border. I grew up in Virginia, but it was “Northern Virginia,” and it is frankly stretching things to call it “the South.” I can say “y’all” as natural as can be, and I love a good biscuit, but I was born in Utah.

Simply put, I dislike the Confederate Flag (which is really the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, to be precise) for these reasons: It has historically and is currently too strongly associated with white supremacism and it is a poor symbol for the greatness of the South.

For me, the Confederate flag is too closely tied with white supremacism. It featured prominently in Dylann Storm Roof’s chosen imagery and as part of the race war he sought to inspire. It was also reborn in the South during the late 50’s and 60’s as a racist response to federal integration efforts.

I know many wonderful Southerners who embrace the flag as a symbol of their heritage. Few would describe themselves as racist or white supremacists, and most would not personally associate the flag with those attitudes. But the main reason I dislike the confederate flag is that it is too small, too narrow, too limited, and does not really work as a symbol of the South. To give an example: it does not symbolize for me some great Southerners like the Bedford Boys.

If you have never heard of them or ever been to Bedford Virginia, the Bedford Boys were men who signed up to defend their country and all it stands for during World War II. These soldiers were part of the units that landed in France on D-Day. They made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in a faraway land on that dark morning. These were great Southern men, soldiers defending their country, but for me the Confederate flag does not bring them to mind. These men did not rally under the Confederate flag; they rallied under the flag of the great United States of America.

There are many other great Southern Americans who I do not believe would wave the Confederate flag. They are Southern, but that is not a symbol of a great Southern heritage for them. Those Americans include Harriet Tubman, B.B. King, Jimmy Carter, Jasper Johns, William Faulkner, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and Aziz Ansari. Instead of a far too narrow symbol, the South needs a better symbol of its rich, wonderful legacy. I think that a better symbol for that legacy is the very flag the Bedford Boys fought under. Exclusively and proudly waving that flag does not lessen one’s love or respect for the South and the South’s contributions to our great nation.

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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: motabenquirer.blogspot.com.

 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gifImage credit: Emily Barney, modified by Scott Heffernan (used with permission).

Friday, July 10, 2015

My Kids Are Strangers



by Eliana:


“They’re such good travelers,” my husband and I tell people about our children.

“Owen just talks to his fingers in the car and looks out the window,” I say when asked about the 10 hour drive for a weekend trip.

“They read and color and then the last hour we let them use a device of some kind.”

All of these sentences are true. Most of the time in fact.

But on this trip, right now, they are lies. Bald-faced lies about children I have never met. The two kids living with me in this rental house in Chapala, Mexico, are terrible. They clearly have never left their homes before.

Monday, June 29, 2015

SCOTUS - Reflecting on My LDS Friend and His Two Moms



by Mike Maxwell:


I grew up in Holladay, Utah in the 1980’s as a member of a pretty conventional Mormon congregation. In my 9th grade year, a new family moved into the neighborhood and a 10th grade boy (I’ll call him Doug) from that family began attending our Teachers Quorum. Doug and I shared common interests in sports and music and quickly became friends. I recall many evenings shooting baskets in his driveway with Molly Hatchet blaring from the car stereo in the carport.

I visited Doug’s home a few weeks after meeting him at church and met his mom. She was nice to me but seemed an otherwise unremarkable woman. I asked Doug about his dad and he told me his mom and dad divorced when he was a kid. His dad worked in the Las Vegas gaming industry and he rarely saw him. He didn’t seem to want to talk about it further so I did not press him.

After a few more visits to Doug’s home, I realized there was another adult woman living there. Over time, I learned that the woman and Doug’s mom were a couple. My 14-year-old Mormon boy self had no frame of reference for “lesbians” so I just kind of rolled with it. I got to know them better and found them to be considerate, caring, pleasant people who were as dedicated to raising a good son as were any of my other friend’s parents.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Accident We Avoided



by Pete Codella:


Last month as we were driving home from a wedding reception in Heber City, Utah, our front tires started making a strange noise. We have had tire air pressure issues (thanks to the stainless steel rims Lexus brilliantly selected for our car), so I stopped at a gas station in Kimball Junction to add some air to both front tires.

We got back on the freeway headed to Salt Lake City but the noise persisted and even got worse. I slowed down, sped up, changed lanes, and we kept hearing this thud-thud, thud-thud, in rhythm to the rotation of the tires.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mormonism Unvailed by Signature Books - Questions for Dan Vogel



by Seattle Jon:

Signature Books recently re-published Mormonism Unvailed, generally considered the very first anti-Mormon book, with critical comments by Dan Vogel, an independent researcher, writer, and author on a number of works that include Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet. Signature provides this summary:

Howe’s famous exposé was the first of its kind, with information woven together from previous news articles and some thirty affidavits he and others collected. He lived and worked in Painesville, Ohio, where, in 1829, he had published about Joseph Smith’s discovery of a “golden bible.” Smith’s decision to relocate in nearby Kirtland sparked Howe’s attention. Of even more concern was that Howe’s wife and other family members had joined the Mormon faith. Howe immediately began investigating the new Church and formed a coalition of like-minded reporters and detractors. By 1834, Howe had collected a large body of investigative material, including affidavits from Smith’s former neighbors in New York and from Smith’s father-inlaw in Pennsylvania. Howe learned about Smith’s early interest in pirate gold and use of a seer stone in treasure seeking and heard theories from Smith’s friends, followers, and family members about the Book of Mormon’s origin. Indulging in literary criticism, Howe joked that Smith, “evidently a man of learning,” was a student of “barrenness of style and expression.” Despite its critical tone, Howe’s exposé is valued by historians for its primary source material and account of the growth of Mormonism in northeastern Ohio.

I hope the following interview generates some interest in this new book. Visit Signature Books to purchase this and other important titles they've published.

Seattle Jon: Why reprint Mormonism Unvailed?

Dan Vogel: Published in 1834, Mormonism Unvailed is rare and for many years students of early Mormon history have relied on poor photocopies, and because of its significance as the first book-length response to Joseph Smith and the many valuable documents it contains a scholarly edition is not only justified but long overdue.

SJ: Did E.D. Howe misspell the title of his book?

DV: Contrary to what many people assume, unvailed was the preferred spelling at the time.

SJ: Why was Howe interested in Mormons?

DV: Howe published a newspaper in Painesville, Ohio, located about ten miles east of the Mormon capital in Kirtland, which made the topic of Mormonism unavoidable, and even more so when his wife and sister became converts.

SJ: Howe's tone is one of bitterness - why should we listen?

DV: Howe’s tone is definitely critical, and at times sarcastic and disdainful, but that was generally the style of newspaper editors in that day. There was no pretence of being objective. One should be equally suspicious of believers. Historians use multiple sources to cut through bias, which is what I try to do in the footnotes that accompany this volume.

SJ: I found that the first half of Mormonism Unvailed is about the Book of Mormon and the second half is about affidavits. Which part do you feel is more important?

DV: I would say the affidavits of former neighbors and relatives of Joseph Smith are probably Howe’s most important contribution to Mormon studies.

SJ: The woodcut cartoon at the front of the book depicts a disguised Moroni with a monkey (the gold plates) in a box. Is there any earlier mention of Moroni as the modern caretaker of the gold plates?

DV: This was apparently the earliest published reference to Moroni as the caretaker of the plates. Oliver Cowdery was next in April 1835 in the Messenger and Advocate. See page 134 note 17.

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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, two cats and four chickens.

Monday, June 8, 2015

School Violence



by Eliana:


We are a family of pacifists by any stretch of definition; my husband, 6’4” and 300 pounds, has never hit anyone in his life. I got in a fight in fourth or fifth grade when another girl called me an egghead. Otherwise, nothing. Our laid back, quiet family is such that our first son, Cole, spent his early years confused by kids who were aggressive on the playground. It was so outside his experience that he’d come back, flabbergasted, asking why a person would push him.

Cole’s in third grade at a school focused on science and engineering. It’s a public school but a specialized one. He loves it and I love that they are all a bunch of nerds running around together, oblivious to the fact that not everyone talks about computer coding while playing soccer.

A few days ago I got an email from Cole’s teacher. There had been an incident. The kids were standing in line to go to lunch when Girl behind my son started punching him in the back. In his version, “I told on her,” he cried, life went on. At the end of the day, Girl came over to apologize; Cole was sitting down, she stood above him, said sorry, then gently slapped his face.

Immediate thoughts as I read this email with several hours left in the school day: should I go get him and rescue him? Can this Girl be disappeared? Then, almost as quickly, have I done something to make my son a target?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Just ... Do It



by Seattle Jon:

Perhaps you've seen this epic video. And because Shia was filmed in front of a green screen, perhaps you've seen some of the hilarious backgrounds Mr. LaBeouf has been dropped into (a few of my favorites here, here and here). His mantra to "just ... do it!" also couples nicely with Spencer Kimball's famous phrase to "Do It." If there are any editing wizards who read the blog, we'd love to see some LDS backgrounds - send em in and we'll post.



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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, two cats and four chickens (now dead).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Guessing the Next Apostle



by John English:


There's some other sites who have been good at projecting who the next Apostles will be, but I'm going to try my own hand. First, let's look at the likely candidates. Things I will take into account:

A. The age of the Apostle. The youngest Apostle is David A. Bednar, who turns 63 in a couple weeks. Any Apostle they call that's younger than him, they're calling with the knowledge that the likelihood's increased that this man could be a future President of the Church. No man has been President of the Church who wasn't an Apostle by the age of 51. Monson was 36. I should mention the ages when called of Oaks (51), Holland (53), and Bednar (52).

B. The length and position of service. They'd want someone who's been a General Authority for a while, with a preference for those in the Presidency of the Seventy. Six of the last ten Apostles called had been in the Presidency of the Seventy.

C. Race. The Church just feels way overdue for a non-white Apostle. It's never had one. Other than Dieter F. Uchtdorf, there's hasn't been a non-American Apostle since the days of Pres. Heber J. Grant, when he called John A. Widtsoe (Norway) and Charles A. Callis (Ireland).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mormon Doppelgängers 18: Young John Taylor & Jeff Daniels



by Scott Heffernan:


Young John Taylor looks a lot like Jeff Daniels. They both sing. They’re both woodworkers. They were both Methodists at certain points in their lives. Jeff Daniels has three kids—named Ben, Lucas, and Nelly. John Taylor fathered 34 children—I’m just going to assume there was a Ben, Lucas, and Nelly in there somewhere.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Are Mormon Men Unintentionally Discriminating at Work



by Alex Fuller:


I recently attended a seminar on gender discrimination in the workplace and was surprisingly conflicted afterwards. I had begun the seminar thinking, "Of course I treat men and women equally." After, however, I was left wondering if I regularly discriminate without realizing it.

This seminar happened the same week that I heard a comment that equally surprised me. The comment came from a LDS female coworker who observed that LDS men are often less inclusive and less open with women in the workplace. She was the only woman in a small minority of Mormons in the organization. Despite her shared beliefs, she often felt excluded by her male LDS coworkers. They were tackling similar projects, but she frequently had to find her own support group.

How could this happen?

Although I don't think most LDS men discriminate on purpose, I wonder how many times we shy away from women either unconsciously or deliberately.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Five Questions for William Morris about Dark Watch and Other Mormon-American Stories



by Scott Hales:

William Morris is one of today’s great advocates for Mormon literature. Aside from founding and frequently contributing to the blog A Motley Vision, William is also a creative writer whose fiction addresses Mormon and non-Mormon subjects with depth, insight, and imagination. Recently, William published his first collection of Mormon stories, Dark Watch and Other Mormon-American Stories.


Here are William’s answers to five questions I had about the book…

Tell us about Dark Watch and Other Mormon-American Stories. What's the genesis of the project? How long have you been working on this collection?

A little over two years ago, I realized that I had enough stories that had been published in Mormon journals plus others that I had completed or would soon complete to make a collection of my Mormon-themed short fiction. At the time I had focused my writing more on (not-Mormon-themed) science fiction and fantasy, and this felt like a good project to serve as a coda to my work in the MoLit field. Wrap up in a neat package, put a bow on it and move on. I was interested enough in the idea to come up with a cover concept for it and then it sat for awhile until I finally convinced two family members who have professional-level editing experience to copyedit and from there it was simply a matter of creating the ebook files and setting up the accounts for Amazon, Nook, Kobo, etc.

And, as it turned out, in the process of putting the collection together, I found myself re-engaging with the issues and imagery and experiences that had caused me to write the stories in the first place, and so as much as I enjoy writing science fiction and fantasy aimed at the mainstream market and will continue to explore that part of my creative life, I'm actually not yet done with Mormon literature. I now look at it less as the end of my engagement with the field and more like the beginning of a new phase.

It's interesting that you call your stories "Mormon-American." What does that term—or label—mean to you and your fiction?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Building Better Youth Discussions, Mini-Classes, Workshops, Etc.



by Shawn Tucker:


In my calling in the Stake Young Men program, it seems like we are constantly trying to come up with ideas for mini-classes or workshops. Youth conferences typically have some sort of instructional time, class, or workshop, and many other stake activities also have them. This is in addition to firesides and Bishop’s youth discussions. Below is a list of principles I’ve developed that seem to make these successful. These principles are followed by a list of possible class or workshops topics. If you have more, please add them in the comments.

Principles:
  • Youth generally prefer workshops and engaging activities to lectures. Of course a talented presenter can be excellent, but, taking a page from TED talks, I believe that no presentation should last more than 18 minutes.

  • Youth generally appreciate genuinely open-ended workshops and discussion. Presenters or workshop directors with knowledge, skill, and confidence sufficient to make a workshop genuinely open-ended and truly engaging are often the most successful. Presentations which only have the appearance of being open-ended but which have leading, “fishing,” or manipulative questions should be avoided.

  • Youth generally listen to other youth much more attentively than to adults. Panels that feature other youth or younger people, like recently returned missionaries or young single adults, can be very effective. Youth also seem to appreciate a variety of speakers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Giveaway: Enslaved to Saved eBooks



Long-time MMM contributor Reid just finished writing a reaaaally long blog post. His new book, Enslaved to Saved: The Metaphor of Christ As Our Master, examines the cultural and political background of slavery during the time of Christ and what it means for our modern-day commitment to the Lord. More on the book below, but first ... Reid and publisher Cedar Fort are offering two readers free eBook copies of Enslaved to Saved. Giveaway details below.

Giveaway Guidelines:
• Leave a comment on this post.
• Seven days to enter (closes Tuesday, May 19th at midnight).
• Winners announced Wednesday, May 20th.
• Winners must provide their email addresses in order to receive the eBook.

Enslaved to Saved: The Metaphor of Christ As Our Master

Members of the LDS Church are people that identify strongly with the idea of being servants of the Lord. Yet, where the King James Version of the Bible reads ‘servant of Jesus Christ’ the original Greek in which the New Testament was written invariably reads ‘slave of Jesus Christ’. Although latter-day saints believe the Bible as far as it is translated correctly, most fail to understand the servant/slave translational nuance. This may limit understanding of the original message of these important passages. The saints in the first-century Mediterranean world truly considered themselves slaves of Christ. We as latter-day saints have much to learn from this perspective.

This book reviews the New Testament message that men are transformed from being slaves of sin, to slaves of Christ as they are redeemed by His atonement. It illustrates how frequently the New Testament equates conversion to the gospel to becoming a slave of Christ. It chronicles the many instances in which the early apostles and gospel narrators referred to themselves in this way. It also reviews the extensive Hebraic tradition, which held that man was the slave of God, and numerous instances where theme of slavery is found in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Anciently slavery was a condition that was worse than death, and associated with utter hopelessness and loss of control. Yet enslavement to Christ was paradoxically esteemed to be an essential element of conversion that brought joy, freedom and eternal life. By illustrating this metaphor from the context in which the New Testament was originally written, my book helps the reader gain a new perspective about Jesus Christ. This perspective strives to improve the reader’s relationship with their Redeemer, and inspire them to more completely surrender their will to His.

Enslaved to Saved can be found at LDS bookstores and the usual online booksellers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Romney Vs Holyfield Charity Fight




As you may have already heard, former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney is set to take on five-time heavy weight boxing champ Evander Holyfield in the ring on May 15th. Event proceeds will benefit Charity Vision, a non-profit with the goal of eliminating curable blindness by providing treatment to those who would otherwise be unable to access care.

While Paige Lavender first covered the news in her Huff Post article breaking news of the main event, what you may not already know is that this fight comes complete with an official weigh-in featuring the contenders. The official weigh-in will be held at XCEL Fitness in Holladay, UT on May 14, the night before the main event. As with the main event, proceeds from tickets purchased for the weigh-in will benefit Charity Vision and its efforts to eliminate curable blindness around the world.


The weigh-in event will feature all Fight Night fighters as they complete their physical exams and weigh-in for the big fight the following evening. The Weigh-in roster includes Evander Holyfield and Mitt Romney, as well as fighters Wes Capper, Steve Rolls, Leon Spinks III, and Jose Haro. Evander Holyfield is also scheduled to take the mic to share stories from his career as well as his views regarding the importance of maintaining physical fitness and giving back to the community.

If you’ll be in the SLC area that week, you can purchase tickets online for the weigh-in event. Each $25 General Admission ticket gives the gift of sight to someone with curable blindness. The weigh-in event will take place from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at the local training facility.

The main Fight Night event will be held at the Rail Events Center in Downtown Salt Lake City the following night, May 15, at 6:30PM, and Weigh-in attendees will have the chance to win a pair of tickets to attend the sold-out black-tie gala featuring the headliners as well as preliminary fights between Freddy Spielberg and Gary Cobia, Jordan Smith and Christian Nava, Wesley Capper and Kent On Sippio-Cook, and Leon Spinks III and Rashad Ganaway.

Following the MayPac madness, join in the fun to be at one of the most buzzed about fights this year while helping an amazing cause!

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