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Awesome Interviews for #BlackHistoryMonth

As many of you know, one of my favorite topics has been the priesthood and temple ban on black church members.  There’s a new podcast called Gospel Tangents I want to HIGHLY recommend.  Here are some of my favorite quotes so far in interviews with Dr. Paul Reeve, a history professor at the University of Utah.

Episode 7-Becoming a Fanboy of Orson Pratt

Pratt votes against both of those bills and the minutes tell us that he does so because they don’t allow black men to vote and I believe that’s his effort at again, pushing back against Brigham Young, so Brigham Young got to have his say in the morning and this is Pratt’s way of responding.  I’m going to vote against these two municipal bills to make my point that I believe black men should be allowed to vote in Utah Territory. Continue Reading »

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Are you a sinner?

In a recent meeting with a counselor in the stake presidency, he asked us all to tell him how we run our families so well.  While I appreciate the compliment, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking I do a lot of things wrong, as well as some things right.  I didn’t like the implication of the question, which seemed to me that we are all perfect.  I responded that I’m a sinner.

I talked with a friend, a former stake president, (who happened to be in the meeting I attended), and he didn’t seem to like the phrase “I’m a sinner.”  Do you have something to confess?  I told him I don’t always hold family home evening, we don’t always have family prayers every night, and I don’t always say nice things.  I fall short of the ideals we are all supposed to live. In short, I’m a sinner.

It seems to me that this is a phrase common to Born-Again Christians, but Mormons like to constantly strive for perfection, and don’t like to focus on being a bunch of sinners.  Are you a sinner?  Are you comfortable calling yourself a sinner?  Do we have a problem with pride when we don’t like to call ourselves sinners?  Should “I’m a sinner” be reserved only for “major” sins?

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BYU May Lose ROTC program over Coffee

The BYU Student newspaper, The Daily Universe, published a scoop last week.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense requires all Air Force officers to sign an oath to defend the constitution — the only obligation for officers in terms of signatory requirements. BYU, however, requires that all faculty, staff and employees sign and abide by its Honor Code, which requires abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and coffee, among other things.

“I told the (university) president in an interview that I would happily abide by the Honor Code on campus, in uniform and on duty, but if I wanted to have a cup of coffee at my house they said, ‘No, that’s not acceptable,’” BYU Air Force ROTC commander Col. Timothy Hogan said.

BYU has one-year limited private exclusions for certain visiting professors. Hogan’s position, however, is a three-year assignment, and the university did not accept his waiver, according to Hogan.

Seriously?  You won’t grant a waiver for a non-LDS teacher to drink coffee in his own home?  Do you really support religious freedom, religious plurality? Continue Reading »

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Yes or No to the Inauguration?

Deseret News photo praising Mormon Missionaries for assisting the Nazi basketball team

Deseret News photo praising Mormon Missionaries for assisting the Nazi basketball team

On Dec 22, the LDS Newsroom announced that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has agreed to sing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.  This has drawn fierce criticism from many, and the Deseret News reported that reactions were mixed to the announcement.  Many of my friends on Facebook were appalled at the announcement.  One friend said that he would not have been surprised if the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would have accepted an invitation from the Third Reich, or Vladimir Putin.  That might not be far from the truth.  Morgan Deane noted that J Reuben Clark of the First Presidency supported the Nazi regime, and I wrote that Clark refused to help Jews emigrate from Germany.  There was even a Deseret News article praising Mormon Missionaries working with the Nazi basketball team in preparation for the Olympics.

Some people are taking a stand against Trump’s bigoted, racist, and sexist comments.   Continue Reading »

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No Crying He Makes? Re-examining Perfection

Verse 3 in “Away in a Manger”:

Do you really believe the infant Jesus never cried?

Do you really believe the infant Jesus never cried?

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

Does anyone seriously believe that the baby Jesus never cried?  I mean the first thing every new parent wants to hear is a crying baby emerging from the womb.  It indicates health.  Setting that aside, I’m sure Jesus cried, like every infant does, when he was hungry and needed food.  For that matter, if Jesus was human, didn’t he fall and skin his knee as a toddler.  Did he cry then? Continue Reading »

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Christmas Celebration and Sadness

Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration of the Savior’s birth.  For many, however, it can be a time of depression and sadness.  My wife likes to go to Festival of Trees every year to view the decorations, and even donated a tree last year.  Money raised from the festival goes to Primary Children’s Hospital to support families in need.  I wouldn’t choose to go, but I go because my wife likes to go.  You will see trees dedicated to the Miami Dolphins, Star Wars, Legos, BYU, Utah, and many other themes people enjoy.  Of course, I enjoy these kinds of trees. Continue Reading »

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What Explains Trump support in Utah?

MaryAnn gave some excellent analysis in wondering if LDS population was a good predictor of Trump support in Utah.  It turns out that she was right–LDS population by county was statistically insignificant in the analysis.  The best predictors of a Trump supporter were % Registered Republicans, and % Rural.

This is going to be very math-y explanation, so I’ll try to explain this best I can.  The following analysis was done using Excel and SPSS using MaryAnn’s data set given in the previous post.  Last Lemming posted a few correlation coefficients comparing Rural vs Mormon.  A correlation coefficient tells you how well correlated the 2 variables are with each other.  Looking at scatterplots and overall correlation coefficients, you can see that both Rural and Republican scatterplots have a much steeper line that % LDS.  Typically in my statistics classes, I tell people that a correlation coefficient between 0.3 and .7 is a moderate correlation.  All 3 pairs of variables show moderate correlations as shown below. Continue Reading »