Striker: History of a Definition

Ladies tailors strikers

[Textile Workers in 1909 embodying the 4th definition of “striker”]

This past June/July, I spent a couple of weeks hanging out over at another LDS-themed website. I had been induced to visit this other site because I became aware my name was being used in vain.

I learned a few useful things as a result of that interaction, because some of those participating in that forum had knowledge I did not yet have. They didn’t cause me to question any of my primary theses regarding Nauvoo events, but they did make me wonder about my use of the term “striker” to describe the seducers who were telling women it was acceptable to participate in illicit intercourse. The strident critics on that other site claimed I was entirely wrong in the use of this one word. They pulled up various citations from the mid 1800s that indicated “striker” was a term that seemed to convey the idea of political activism. So I was planning to remove the term “striker” from a future update of my book, Reluctant Polygamist.

Luckily, I hadn’t gotten around to excising “striker” from my book. It turns out the term means what I thought it meant, and the word would have been even more upsetting and pertinent than I realized. Continue reading

Harry Reid is still lying about Mitt Romney’s taxes — and he is still proud of it

This article from yesterday’s Washington Post has to be read to be believed.

One of the strangest incidents of the 2012 presidential campaign was when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid accused then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of having not paid any taxes over the past decade. That Reid made that allegation from the floor of the Senate made it even odder.

The problem with Reid’s allegation? It’s just not true. We know that, at least in 2011 and 2010, Romney did pay taxes. How do we know that? Because Romney released his tax returns for those years. In 2011, Romney paid $1.9 million in taxesin 2010, he paid slightly more than $3 million in taxes.

Our own Fact Checker gave Reid Four Pinocchios for his “no taxes” claimPolitiFact gave the claim a “Pants on Fire” rating.

Yet Reid (D-Nev.) not only refuses to retract the allegation but also seems to take great pride in it. When pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash last year about continuing to defend a statement that is not true, Reid responded, “Romney didn’t win, did he?

Now, in a new interview with WaPo’s Ben Terris, Reid echoes those sentiments. Here’s Reid’s full response to Ben’s question about the Romney attack:

People bring that up, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Why? Because I knew what he had done was not be transparent and forthright about his taxes and to this day he hasn’t released his tax returns. … Did I want to do that? No. I had the information, I tried to get somebody else to do it. I tried to get somebody in the Obama ‘reelect,’ I tried to get one of the senators, I tried to get one of the outside groups, but nobody would do it. So I did it. And with that, like everything, I think in life, here’s something I learned from my father, if you’re going to do something, don’t do it half-assed, don’t play around. With the Mitt Romney stuff, I didn’t play around. …

Again, to be clear, Reid is just wrong. Romney didn’t release all 10 years of his tax returns but the returns he did release showed that he paid taxes. If a small part of an allegation is accurate but the main thrust of it isn’t, that doesn’t make the whole thing true.

Continue reading

Not Simply a Mass Delusion

University of Utah Professor Gregory A. Clark wrote an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune attacking organized religion generally and the Catholic Church’s decision to elevate Mother Theresa to Sainthood. Reading his anti-religious screed brought back memories of arguments that I once embraced as an atheist. In particular, Professor Clark argues that God either does not exist or he is a cruel being not worthy of worship.

“Apparently, Mother Teresa hates amputees. Either that, or God does. He’ll routinely regrow limbs for salamanders. But for people? Meh. Not so much.

Primitive superstitious beliefs are not reason to rejoice. Mass self-delusion is not reason to rejoice. Rejecting reality is not reason to rejoice.

They are reason to mourn.”

The problem of theodicy or the existence of evil continues to confront and challenge religion. It is difficult to explain how God can allow human suffering—and even worse, this suffering is selective and inconsistent. Prayers seem to be arbitrarily answered or ignored.

But I wish Professor Clark could open his heart to the teachings of the restored Gospel. So many of the doctrines of the restoration address these very same concerns. In light of our knowledge of the plan of salvation, the love of God can be reconciled with the suffering that we witness in this life. Continue reading

Book Review: Midnight Slaves by Rachael Eliker

Normally I do book reviews for non-fiction, and primarily for LDS focused books. However, I saw that Rachael Eliker*, a LDS friend of mine, wrote a teenage dystopian novel. I was interested in checking it out, and sharing my findings with MStar, where I know there are many people who enjoy good fiction.

Product Details

Imagine living in a perfect world risen from the ashes of global warfare. Everyone lives in New Haven, a city that has a perfect set of rules, the best of schools, great technology, and even robots that quietly clean your home as you sleep in your automated sleep pod.

It seems that every perfect world has a hidden secret, and New Haven is no different. When Jude, a promising young high schooler with a penchant for art, wonders what the cleaning androids look like, he is shocked to find out the real secret.

Midnight Slaves draws Jude into a hidden world of people used as chattel by the powers that be in New Haven. He struggles, as do others that learn of the secret, to decide between the comforts of continuing the lifestyle of New Haven, or attempt a coup to free those that are kept in servitude.

Midnight Slaves is well written with descriptions of people, animals and places flowing easily through its pages. The dialogue is natural and convincing.  The characters are believable and have a good depth of character developed. It is written with the modern reader in mind, lots of action and interaction. It definitely kept me engaged through the book with strong dialogue and action.  It is not a Tolkien novel of yesteryear that insists on using 10 pages to describe a meadow (there is nothing wrong with this, as I grew up reading and loving Tolkien’s world building).

There were just a few small issues that I had with the writing. Eliker notes frequently the poverty and deprivation the slaves live in, yet one of the slaves owns two horses, and others go into the local market where gold and silver jewelry are being sold. We also see some questions answered by a person-in-the-know, rather than allowing important facts and past events unravel naturally. Some of these things are told, rather than discovered by the characters and readers together.

For a first attempt at a dystopian teenage novel, Rachael’s offering is well worth the read. It is an engaging story, as it introduces us to two civilizations and the conflict that rages underneath the surface, bracing to explode at any moment.  I look forward to seeing the next volumes in this series.


*Rachael Eliker is mother of 4 children. She and her husband now live near Indianapolis, where they live on some acreage with 2 horses, chickens, cats, and whatever other animals interest them. Their home is an old, rustic (meaning: old and broken down) home that they have been fixing up over the last few years. She’s written a series of fictional books on horse racing previously. She has an active blog on homesteading at:

All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon:

Pearson’s Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Review

GhostCarol Lynn Pearson, who describes herself as one of the “wise-woman elders” of Mormonism, has written a book documenting how the specter of eternal polygamy pains those who have embraced Mormonism.

For many Mormons as old as me, Carol Lynn Pearson was *the* Mormon poet. Her poetic voice was clear and inspiring in her initial books of her poetry, widely quoted in Mormon circles. Her life appeared to be unusually graced until her beloved husband came out as gay. Pearson’s book about her husband was published in 1986, after her former husband died from complications related to AIDS.

Pearson started as precocious and innocent girl believing the promises of 1970s Mormonism and has arrived at the status of elderly and wounded woman, crying out to God and us listeners with her stories of how entitled polygamous patriarchy harms everyone, but particularly the female members of the Mormon tribe.

As a reviewer, I am simultaneously irritated with Pearson while applauding her clarity in pointing out the damage stupid beliefs about eternal polygamy can cause.

I am irritated because she sees Mormon plural marriage through a lens I no longer see as valid, a lens through which she describes Joseph Smith “taking” 30-40 wives, including some with legal husbands and at least one as young as fourteen. I would have rendered that phrase that Joseph Smith covenanted with ~40 women, including some with legal husbands and one woman who may have been as young as thirteen. But I would have pointed out that in every case that has been examined, the few children borne by these women during this time have been positively confirmed to be the biological children of the legal husband (with no confident reports that any otherwise unmarried women conceived at all). And I point out the vast sexual heresy that engulfed Nauvoo in 1841-1842, to which I posit Joseph was responding to by entering into covenants with associated teachings, covenants that appear to have been asexual for the most part.

Yet I applaud Pearson because the pain she describes is the very reason why I feel it is so critical to unearth the forgotten sins of our past, the truths it appears our pioneer forebears had righteously buried in full repentance before their Lord, Jesus Christ. Continue reading