About J. Max Wilson

J. Max Wilson is one of the founders of the Millennial Star. You read more of his thoughts about Mormonism and other topics on his personal blog: http://www.sixteensmallstones.org.

Dead Works – When Goals Undermine Objectives


Goal-setting has often received emphasis in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and with good reason. We are an industrious, action-oriented people. Our ancestors were motivated by their faith to cross oceans and mountains, drain swamps, tame deserts, and build kingdoms.

Goal-setting can be a helpful way to organize effort and to prioritize our use of time by identifying activities and steps that are meant to move us toward a desired objective. It is often a valuable tool.

But this kind of goal-setting can also be dangerous. Continue reading

Announcing the 1st Semiannual LDS Friends & Foes Rendezvous

This year marks the 10th year that I’ve been involved with LDS blogging. TEN YEARS! Back then it was all new. Nobody knew if you were a dog. I was a guest blogger at the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog. Me!

Since then I have attracted a few Internet antagonists and I have written things that have antagonized others.

While I do not regret my honest, though sometimes clumsy, efforts to stand up for what I believe online, 10 years of watching LDS Internet battles has saddened me.

Between the effects of cyber-disinhibition, which lead people to say things online that they would never say in a face-to-face conversation, and the tendency of Internet discussion to super-size Wiio’s Laws of Communication, we have managed to dehumanize and demean each other in all kinds of ways.

Our online foes are often not real people to us but human-shaped containers into which we have poured all of our Internet-distorted perceptions and disagreements.

And that is why I am inviting you all to the 1st Semiannual LDS Friends & Foes Rendezvous. Continue reading

My Internet Puppet Show

I hope you will excuse a bit of off-topic self promotion. One of my hobbies is puppetry. It has come up now and then over the years in the blogs and jokes about me and puppetry have sometimes been made in LDS blog circles.

So I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve launched a web-based video series for kids featuring my puppets. It’s called Rusty & Ollie’s Fun, Facts, and Follies.

Check it out.  And please share it with your friends and family.

You can watch a brief introduction to the series here.

And here is the first episode:



The Parable of the Offensive Remedy

[ Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones ]

For the kingdom of heaven is likened unto an hospital. And behold great plagues came upon the land, and the people were brought low by all manner of sickness; some with the pox, some with fevers, some with the palsy.


Therefore with great lore and wortcunning the master physician prepared remedies of bitter herbs and strong tonics. And so great was the number of the sick that the master physician called servants and sent them forth to carry the prescribed elixirs unto the sick that they might be healed. Continue reading

Rejecting the Living Prophets by Following Future Prophets

[Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

kept-my-cupOne of the key doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we have living prophets and apostles today who are authorized by God to receive revelations for the church and for the world. The scriptures are full of stories of how the people of the church rejected the messages of the living prophets, often justifying themselves by appealing to the words of previous prophets. Even Jesus was rejected by appealing to Moses or Abraham.

As President of the Twelve Apostles, Ezra Taft Benson warned: “Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.” (Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, 1980)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained further: “…the most important difference between dead prophets and living ones is that those who are dead are not here to receive and declare the Lord’s latest words to his people. If they were, there would be no differences among the messages of the prophets.” (Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall, 1992)

I’ve noticed a troubling parallel among some progressive members of the church: Rejecting living prophets in favor of what they anticipate future prophets will do*. Continue reading