A Word of Wisdom Primer

gfob_bfobReligious restrictions on food is not uncommon, and exists in every major faith. Both what can be eaten and and how food is prepared and served can be part of the dietary teachings. Islam, for instance, follows similar restrictions to Jewish law and includes prohibition of alcohol. Buddhism and Hinduism both avoid eating cows like Judaism and Islam are to avoid pork consumption. They also both teach not to eat meat, with Buddhism generally more vegetarian in practice. Christianity seems to be the least food conscious religion having nearly no rules other than moderation. Catholicism will have meat off the menu on Fridays, but that seems to be the extent of any rules. Perhaps Seventh Day Adventism with its adherence to Leviticus is the most stringent Christian denomination. Living in a predominantly Protestant and laissez faire Western democracy makes the very simple dietary teachings of Mormonism seem more strict than reality. Continue reading

Guest post: the Family and Social Science in General Conference

This is a guest post by Huston.

In his remarks at the April 2015 General Conference, Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, “The social science case for marriage and for families headed by a married man and woman is compelling.”
He’s not the first to draw support for this area of doctrine from the secular realm. Citing summaries of social science research to bolster statements about marriage and family has practically become de rigeur in talks by general authorities these days.

Below is a list of all such citations that I could find in General Conference in the last five years. This list doesn’t have every citation from a social science study—just the ones where the research was clearly meant to back up a doctrinal principle or recommended practice.

I don’t know of any other subject that’s regularly preached from the pulpit with peer-reviewed, academic references like this. Have there been sermons about tithing or chastity that increase their persuasive strength by quoting scientists, much less a spate of such sermons? Have church leaders settled controversial matters like priesthood ordination with appeals to secular social science? So why just the issue of marriage and family?

Here’s a theory: because this issue is so critical to the success of society, and to our success as a church, that our leaders feel inspired to defend it by every means reasonable. It’s so important that urging ourselves and our friends to consider our view as an article of faith may not be enough—we should be ready to make a difference in our homes and communities equipped with an array of information that should reach any open-minded acquaintance.

If I’ve missed any relevant citations, please note it in the comments.

1. April 2015: “Why Marriage, Why Family,” By Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Family-related idea or counsel: “The social science case for marriage and for families headed by a married man and woman is compelling.”
Social science cited in support: “Nicholas Eberstadt catalogs the worldwide declines in marriage and childbearing and the trends regarding fatherless homes and divorce and observes: ‘The deleterious impact on the hardly inconsequential numbers of children disadvantaged by the flight from the family is already plain enough. So too the damaging role of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing in exacerbating income disparities and wealth gaps—for society as a whole, but especially for children. Yes, children are resilient and all that. But the flight from family most assuredly comes at the expense of the vulnerable young. That same flight also has unforgiving implications for the vulnerable old.’ (See ‘The Global Flight from the Family,’ Wall Street Journal, Feb. 21, 2015, wsj.com/articles/nicholas-eberstadt-the-global-flight-from-the-family-1424476179.)”
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The Book of Joseph

imageMy sister asked me a week or so ago if I could come up with a version of Joseph’s history that she could tell her children. Also this week, a lady named Anne over at Times and Seasons anguished over how she could possible discuss Joseph’s actions in restoring the New and Everlasting Covenant with her children.

So the other day when I was interminably delayed on my commute, I started writing. This is a first draft, and I’m open to any comments or suggestions as to how this could be improved. I’m not even sure what to call this (though the name of the post will remain “The Book of Joseph”).

Remember that this is a story to be told to relatively young kids. I am numbering the paragraphs not to be scriptural, but so you can comment with passion about the particular portions of the story you find noteworthy.

The picture is just because it was the best picture I had recently taken that represents love and sweetness and good fruits, even if a bit tart.

The Book of Joseph, or The Plain and Precious Things Continue reading

A few thoughts on the Pew study of religion

The Pew study on religion is a massive undertaking. Pew interviewed 35,000 adults on religious habits in English and Spanish. The study is not perfect, but it seems to be widely recognized as the best, most comprehensive study out there on the religious practices of Americans.

For Mormons, there is some good news but also plenty of worrisome news.

First, the good news. Mormons still have big families.

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Mormons have significantly more kids than any other religious group. This of course is good news for the future. Kids born Mormons are more likely to stay in the Church.

Mormons are also more likely to be married and divorce is relatively rare.

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