Guest Post: Addiction, Alypius and the Gladiators

This is a guest post by Reid Litchfield

Alypius 1 was a life-long friend of Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time. Both were born in the 4th century in Numidia (current Algeria) which was part of Roman North Africa.  They were converted to Christianity together while studying in Milan. Though revered as a Saint of the Catholic Church, there was a time in his life when Alypius seemed hopelessly enslaved to an addiction of the most unlikely sort.  Augustine describes the plight of his friend better than I could ever hope to.

He had gone on to Rome before me to study law . . . and there he was carried away again with an incredible passion for the gladiatorial shows.

For, although he had been utterly opposed to such spectacles and detested them, one day he met by chance a company of his acquaintances and fellow students returning from dinner; and, with a friendly violence, they drew him, resisting and objecting vehemently, into the amphitheater, on a day of those cruel and murderous shows. Continue reading


  1. He is also referred to as Saint Alypius of Thasgate

Paradoxical Patriarchy

This is a guest post by Lucinda Hancock

I am a wife and the mother of eight wonderful children, and with each passing year I become more alarmed at the societal problems they will inherit. Considering how to prepare them, I’ve realized they need to understand their own nature and to discern which choices lead to which outcomes. I want my sons to become worthy men, particularly in treating women with respect. I want my daughters to know how to balance the desire for self-giving with the desire for self-respect.

I am among many women who are coming to understand that feminism has its problems. But the difficulty is in finding an alternative that ensures women are cared for and protected from men who are likely to demean and misuse them. Women need to have high standards for sexual relationships because of the physical and emotional demands of having children, and men generally don’t consider the price women pay in such a pursuit. Relationship negotiations between women and men affect the larger society, and currently, dishonest men have counterfeited the standards for masculine behavior, causing inflation in expectations of what men will promise on the one hand and debased expectations of what men deliver on the other. This has led to an atmosphere of disillusionment among women regarding their relationships with men.

This disillusionment has been useful to feminism. Before I questioned feminism, I would have put feminism and male chauvinism on opposite sides of a spectrum. Male chauvinists assert that the masculine perspective is superior in every respect, and I believed feminists asserted the superiority of the feminine perspective. Yet I found that, in practice, feminism holds women to a standard which rejects the vital importance of femininity, judging women instead based on measures more apt for assessing genderless, and even masculine, performance. Chauvinistic men have successfully made women feel that having children is mainly a personal feminine benefit, and therefore not deserving more of society’s special attention than any other personal interest. Feminists contribute to this idea by asserting that mothers don’t need men, pushing women further from demanding the help they need from men in doing the hard work of building relationships and families, and society itself.

Feminism, like chauvinism, works against the truly feminine interests of most women. The question is what is on the opposite side? What ideology serves the interests of the feminine perspective? The unexpected answer is patriarchy. Continue reading

The Beaver Skin Hat: How Joseph Interpreted the Plates


Popular styles of beaver hats circa 1830

[In homage to Bruce Nielson, I am dictating this post using Dragon dictation.]

Don Bradley wrote an intriguing paper titled Piercing the Veil: Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages. In the final section, Bradley discusses a lost story about how the interpreters, or Urim and Thummim, were found.

According to Fayette Lapham, Joseph Smith related some of the stories that were contained in the book of Mormon prior to publication. In one of these stories, the Liahona led the travelers to a curious set of implements. Unable to determine what these implements were, the man who found them (presumably the high priest of that time), took them into the tabernacle and present them to the Lord. The Lord tells the man  to cover his head with skins. Once he had done so, the high priest was able to see the spiritual. And according to the story, after this point Liahona stopped working. Continue reading

Conservative Oklahoma politician wants to end government marriage licenses

This story reports about a conservative Oklahoma politician, an Assemblies of God pastor, who has introduced a bill that would end government marriage licenses. Marriages certificates would be signed by a religious official and then filed with the county clerk. For nonreligious marriages, people would file affidavits of common law marriage.

Here are more details:

The Cordell Republican says he wants to protect court clerks from having to issue licenses to same-sex couples. He doesn’t want these workers put in the position of having to condone or facilitate same-sex marriage.

Under his plan, a religious official would sign a couple’s marriage certificate, which would then be filed with the clerk. Marriages would no longer be performed by judges. If a couple did not have a religious official to preside over their wedding, they could file an affidavit of common law marriage.

“Marriages are not supposed to be a government thing anyway,” he said Wednesday.

Russ, a credentialed Assemblies of God minister, is upset with rulings that have supported same-sex marriage.

“There’s a lot of constituents and people across the state who are not through pushing back on the federal government for the slam down they’ve given us with Supreme Court rulings,” he said.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Oklahoma in October. That’s when the high court declined to review a federal court decision striking down a voter-approved ban on the practice.

My quick thoughts: this proposal does not “get government out of the marriage business.” Marriages must still be filed with the government. Would this plan help protect marriage as an institution or not? I don’t know if it would have much effect at all except on county clerks.

Any thoughts from M* readers?

Well, I tried…

My shoulder became so painful yesterday I couldn’t even do my job. Very scary. I’m going to see a surgeon now. But  I think my BCC experiment is on hold, unfortunately. I need to concentrate on using my arm as little as possible for now, which means I have to cut out blogging again. *Sigh*