About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

Mayim Bialik on modesty and lack of faith in Hollywood

This interview may be of interest to M* readers.

Actress Mayim Bialik.

Actress Mayim Bialik.

One aspect of Judaism the mom-of-two values is modesty.

“Being a modest dresser, that for me is a certain amount of my religious faith — privacy and chastity. Just because I have a body, doesn’t mean it means to be on display.”

Bialiak dislikes being labeled as “prude” just because she “doesn’t dress the way everyone else dresses.”

“It’s important, especially for children and men and my sons to hear I’m not ashamed of my body, I just don’t feel the need to display it with two tiny pieces of fabric when I want to go swimming.”

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Mormon gnostics: a must-read talk from the FAIRMormon Conference

I wanted to bring to your attention a very important talk on “Mormon gnostics” at the FAIR conference last week. The talk was given by Cassandra Hedelius, one of those young, smart FAIRMormon volunteers who are helping the organization grow.

We should address the term “gnostic.” Hedelius is using this term the following way:

Mormon Gnostics emphasize personal spiritual effort and de-emphasize the role of the church in spiritual progression. This can lead them to conclude that they have learned a new scriptural interpretation, contrary to what church leaders have taught, or that they have discerned that church leaders and members have strayed, and God has called new leaders or revealed a new means of spiritual progress without prophets. Gnostics try to get at a supposed hidden, deeper truth that most members don’t find due to supposed faithlessness or lack of passion for spiritual things. Gnostics seek for what the scriptures “really” mean, or what prophets are “really” saying, or for teachings that were known a long time ago but aren’t part of modern mainstream belief, perhaps because they were unofficial and hence abandoned, or prophets revealed better understanding.

In real life, a Mormon gnostic might be that guy in High Priests or Elders Quorum who loves to quote some apostle from 1850 revealing some deep secret that is not emphasized today. Or it might be somebody like Denver Snuffer, a dangerous apostate who is leading people away from the Church. The former is relatively harmless; the latter is very harmful.

If you have been around the Mormon blog world long enough, you may have seen liberal Mormons claim that if you are “too conservative” you will end up parroting Denver Snuffer. The claim is of course ridiculous because a conservative Mormon is, by definition, somebody who follows the prophets, i.e., the current prophets speaking at general conference every six months.

However, the Mormons liberals may have a point that *some* Church critics start out from the perspective of trying to be “more Catholic than the Pope” or, in our case, “more Mormon than the prophet.” And this is a tendency that can take you down the wrong path.

Hedelius points out that a Mormon gnostic might start out innocently enough trying to study new things that support the Church. She notices the following pattern:

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FAIRMormon Conference, day 2

I will only have time to cover the first talk today on M*. There may be other posts that discuss the FAIRMormon conference.

The first talk is by Michael Otterson.

The title is On the Record.

Michael R. Otterson has been serving as the Managing Director of the Public Affairs Department since 2008, with responsibility for public affairs issues of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide.

He was educated in England, his birthplace, where he completed his formal journalistic training. For eleven years he worked as a journalist on newspapers in Britain, Australia and Japan.

Since 1976, he has worked in the London, Sydney and Salt Lake City Public Affairs Offices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his current role as Managing Director he oversees many contemporary concerns facing the church such as women’s issues, religious freedom and an ever-expanding global church.

Presentation: On The Record

Summary: This presentation will cover the role of Church Public Affairs and how it interacts with the Church and the press. Brother Otterson will also discuss many of the issues and misconceptions he deals with, as well as respond to questions from the audience.

Here is a live summary of his talk:

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FAIRMormon Conference, day 1

To M* readers: M* will provide occasional coverage of the FAIRMormon conference, which is being held Aug. 6 and 7.

The first talk is by Ed Pinegar and is entitled: “How to help young Latter-day Saints deal with criticisms against the Church and the doubts they cause while remaining faithful”

Brother Pinegar is married to the former Patricia Peterson who served as Counselor in the General Presidency of the Young Women and General Primary President of the Church. They are the parents of 8 children, 38 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

He has served in many callings in the Church and has taught religion classes in the CES for 34 years. He has served in the LDS Church as a bishop, stake president, stake patriarch, on the general board of the church’s Young Men organization, as president of the England London South Mission, and as president of the Provo Missionary Training Center. He has also been director of the Orem Institute of Religion, a religion professor at BYU, and a seminary teacher. He served a mission with his sweetheart Patricia in the New York Rochester Mission at the Historical Sites around Palmyra July 2007 to January 2009. He served as President of the Manti Temple from 2009-2012. He presently serves as a Sealer in Mt. Timpanogos temple. Brother Pinegar is the author of over 60 books and talk CDs, most recently The Temple: Gaining Knowledge and Power in the House of the Lord, A Mighty Change, Preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood and My Mission, and The Christmas Code.

He has taught in many Continuing Education programs and was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from BYU, Division of Continuing Education, in 1979. He also received the Outstanding Young Man of the Year Award, the Service to Mankind Award from Provo City, the Sloan Community Speaker Award from BYU in 1999, UVU Distinguished Service Award 2001 and the UVU Excellence in Leadership Award in 2003.

Presentation: How to help young Latter-day Saints deal with criticisms against the Church and the doubts they cause while remaining faithful

Summary: We will discuss the following topics: 1) Understanding their situation. 2) Understanding the process of change. 3) Becoming an instrument in the hands of the Lord. 4) The role of the Holy Ghost in the conversion and change process. We will also answer the following questions: How can we help them replace doubt with faith? How can we help them deal with negativism and half-truths? How can we help them deal with criticisms of our prophets and leaders? How can we help them gain a testimony sufficient to deal with attacks against the Church? How can we help them be rooted to Christ and not yield to the sophistries of the devil? How do we help them when they justify their beliefs because of their sins? How can we help them when faced with new facts that they have never dealt with before?

Here is a summary of his live talk:

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