Unrealistic Expectations of Mormon Miltons and Shakespeares

Every now and then those contemplating the literary aspirations of Mormonism will quote Orson F. Whitney, “we will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own,” and then ask when or how that can become possible. That musing has now gone national thanks to an article in the New York Times with interviews of current and former Mormon writers about why this hasn’t happened yet. The result is condescension toward both Mormon literature and popular genre fiction. The answer, even by some of the Mormon writers, seems to show the usual academic bias in favor of the nebulous literary fiction.

Although artists should stretch the talent given to them, Mormon Miltons and Shakespeares are not going to exist. That dream needs to be retired. This is not because Mormons are incapable of great literature, but because the expectations are ridiculous. The New York Times article said it best while ignoring the implications, “In the United States, Jews, blacks and South Asians, while they have produced no Milton or Shakespeare — who has, lately? — have all had literary renaissances.” The nearest to the two contemporary “Bards” in prestige is Homer who lived about a thousand years before them. By that reckoning, time is on the Mormon side. Continue reading

Shroud of Turin: Easter Relic

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Spring slowly arriving brings Easter, a remembrance of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was slain for the sins of the world and came back to life so that all could be saved. Christians everywhere this time of year commemorate the occasion when sin and death were conquered by the love of God who watched His only Son suffer and die so that all may live. The witness of the Bible and other Scripture places these events not in some distant cosmic background, but Jerusalem in the 1st Century among a small group of Jews. Ever since that time people of faith have been searching for clues that once and for all establish the truth of the “good news” or Gospel. Some claim to have found proof.

The most famous and researched is the mysterious Shroud of Turin. It is a long cloth that seems to show the back and front of a faint figure with visible signs of pain and suffering. Hands are crossed at pelvic region to give the impression he was laid down in death. Stains that resemble blood can be found on his back, head, hands, feet, and side. Whatever the truth, it represents the body of a tortured and crucified man.

For centuries the Catholic Church has held it as an icon of faith, despite no official position as to its authenticity. Every so often it is put on display with millions flocking to see it for themselves. Other Christians have been equally drawn to its hideous charms. If real, the Shroud of Turn represents a moment in time with eternal consequences. As a fake, the method and meticulous construction still remain one of the greatest artistic achievements in history. Artifact or clever piece of art remains an open and fascinating debate. Continue reading

State of the Mormon Presidential Hopefuls

For disclosure, I admit to supporting Michele Bachmann above any other current candidate. She seems to me the most consistent with my own political positions. If it wasn’t for the fact that I live in a last to vote in the primaries State (how is that for all votes count?) my involvement in the process would be much more. For the moment I can only hope that primary voters who do have some power will give her more of a shot. As this year’s Iowa Ames straw poll shows, newspaper and national polls don’t tell the whole story.

That out of the way, this isn’t directly about her. Two Mormon contenders are in the Republican Party who want to be the next U.S. President. Their chances could not be more different. Continue reading

Hugh Grant: An Instrument in G-d’s Hands

I detest the paparazzi. I want to say hate, but hating is a sin, so let’s say I detest the paparazzi. Why?  Because I hold them directly responsible for the death of Princess Diana, who I loved.

I used to “like” Fox News, which is owned by Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch. I actually never gave Rupert Murdoch much thought, except as a family historian and a Murdoch descendant, I regarded Rupert as possibly one of my far-flung cousins. Now my “like” for Murdoch has turned to detest (I no longer regard him as a possible cousin), and I am greatly, enormously, disappointed in Fox News. I now feel this way because; I recently came across a fascinating news story, which I believe has been under-reported here in the US; well, at least on Fox News.

This tale is about the Murdoch empire, the paparazzi,  and a seemly unlikely real life hero, the British actor Hugh Grant, (who I also love) star of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, About a Boy, Music and Lyrics, and many other films.

BBC Question Time

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Scottish MPs Complain about BYU President’s “Homophobic” Institution After Speech to Parliament

Picture: The Scotsman. Ian Rutherford.

BYU President Elder Cecil O. Samuelson has managed to create quite a stir here in bonnie Scotland after giving a speech before the Scottish Parliament last month.  Samuelson was invited to speak at the assembly for their regular Time for Reflection address, which has previously hosted such illustrious speakers as the Dalai Lama. However, Elder Samuelson’s presence was rejected by a number of MPs (Members of Parliament) due to his leadership over a university that labels homosexual behavior as “innapropriate.”

The headlines and commentaries that have been erupting around the UK express outrage at the Samuelson invitation, calling him “homophobe” and “anti-gay.” They refer to Brigham Young University as a “homophobic” institution.

Elder Samuelson, in his very brief remarks, said nothing about the university’s (or the Church’s) stance on homosexuality or homosexual behavior, but presented a very harmless (in my view) introduction to the university/Church’s view on seeing all mankind as brothers and sisters and loving and serving others (citing Mosiah 2:17).

You can read his full remarks here: http://newsroom.lds.org/article/church-leader-scottish-parliament-i-bless-you
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