Impromptu Sacrament Meetings

When I was a kid (approximately 8-10 years old), I used to get up every Fast & Testimony meeting and bear my testimony.  I was so obnoxious, my family told me I didn’t need to get up every month.  So, I took a few months off.  One day we had Ward Conference (and I still don’t really understand why we have Ward Conference, but that’s a topic for another post.)  The stake presidency decided to pick certain members of the ward to come up without warning, and give a short testimony.  To my surprise, they called my name.  I remember looking at my parents, wondering if I really was supposed to get up and bear my testimony, and they encouraged me to do it.  I remember being apprehensive about Ward Conference ever since, but I have never seen that practice in another Ward Conference. Continue Reading »


Uninspirational Missionary Farewells

I attended my nephew’s missionary farewell this weekend, and it got me thinking about missionary farewells in general.  It used to be that a missionary family would invite his family to speak, there would be special musical numbers, often advice from an older brother, and bishop’s remarks about the missionary.  While some meetings went long because the family asked too many people to speak, had too many musical numbers (or both), these meetings were generally a treat to attend.  They were interesting.  But in 2002, President Hinckley announced in General Conference, Continue Reading »


Is it Time to Update the Word of Wisdom?

Fair warning: I know that Thursday is Thanksgiving, so this post will probably be a killjoy.

The Word of Wisdom was written in Joseph Smith’s day and primarily concerned the major health problems of the day: alcoholism and and tobacco.  These were industries of “conspiring men in the last days.”  But obesity is turning out to be a bigger problem today than pre-Prohibition alcoholism, and smoking rates have dropped by 50% between 1965 and 2006.  Mike S at Wheat and Tares has said that Continue Reading »


Is ISIS our generation’s version of Nazis?

Edmund Burke was an Irish political philosopher, Whig politician and statesman who is often regarded as the father of modern conservatism.  His most famous quote:  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

How involved should the U.S. be?  Hitler invaded Poland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia in 1939, and the policy was one of containment (some call appeasement.)  His atrocities are well-documented.  Today, ISIS announced that they have beheaded another American, they have crucified Christians, stoned other Muslims, massacred thousands of Shia Muslims, and are buying and selling Yazidi women into sex slavery, justifying this concubinage as compatible with the Koran.  The Nazis at least attempted to hide some of their atrocities, but ISIS seems to glory in their crimes against humanity, publishing them with seeming impunity.  I don’t think it is a stretch to say that they are worse than Nazis.  It is well-known that ISIS is making about $2 million/day through black market oil sales. Continue Reading »

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The Crucible of Doubt

Many religions are losing adherents to atheism, or people a simply choosing to abandon organized religion.  Mormonism is no different.  Deseret Book has recently published The Crucible of Doubt by Terryl and Fiona Givens in order to address those Mormons who doubt truth claims made by the church.  I liked some of the points that the Givens discussed.

Boring Church (page 42) Continue Reading »

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Utah’s Ferguson Problem

Darrien Hunt

While most of the country is focusing on the shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri by a white police officer, the small town of Saratoga Springs, Utah has a similar controversy brewing.  Several people called the police about a 22 year old black man, Darrien Hunt, who was walking around a shopping center with a sword.  Police arrived, and shot and killed Hunt.  It turns out the sword was plastic (neither bystanders, nor police knew that at the time.)  An autopsy shows that Hunt was shot in the back, casting doubt on the police department’s version of events. Continue Reading »


Big Week for LDS Media

This was an amazing week on the LDS websites. The LDS Newsroom published a video in which they showed both temple garments, as well as the temple robes that are worn. The Church emphasized that many religions have religious clothing, and said that it is derogatory to refer to LDS garments as “magic underwear.”

Some people incorrectly refer to temple garments as magical or “magic underwear.” These words are not only inaccurate but also offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing magical or mystical about temple garments, and Church members ask for the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of goodwill.

Then later in the week, LDS.org published 3 new essays on polygamy. Continue Reading »


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