Mormon founder Joseph Smith wed 40 wives

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I recall blogging about the new articles on lds.org regarding plural marriage nearly a month ago (Mormon Polygamy, the Short Version). CNN (Daniel Burke) has finally twigged to these updates.

Of course, CNN uses a pithy title that lacks all nuance but is sure to catch the attention of random readers, Church: Mormon founder Joseph Smith wed 40 wives. Interestingly enough, the factual content of the lds.org articles does deflate the sensationalism one might have expected from an article with such a title. Continue reading

Millennial Miscellany

Trees on the north tip of Manhattan

I’ve collected a range of thoughts in the past two weeks as I flitted between DC, Manhattan, and Tokyo. Individually they might not merit a post here at M*, but as a collection might be interesting. These are:

  1. How Barack Obama caused Prop 8 to be passed
  2. How Moroni 9 argues for the truth of the Book of Mormon
  3. The contemporary importance of the Articles of Faith, and
  4. More cool stuff about the Word of Wisdom

Continue reading

In Defense of Harry Reid – Or Why I am Not a Democrat

This week, Republicans took back the Senate as well as several state houses and across the country. This victory has variously been described as a wave or a flood. I gratefully celebrated on Tuesday night as the election results came in. Yet, that celebratory spirit turned a bit sour as I read the now infamous post, Good riddance to Harry Reid, the Mormon Senate leader, by member and current Bishop Mark Paredes. I don’t know brother Paredes personally, bu I have greatly enjoyed some of the other posts that he has written on other topics and appreciate the vital role he is playing in reaching out to the Jewish community. Nevertheless, I think Paredes’s post is needlessly divisive and ultimately misguided. While many have already written on this topics, in light of the national attention given to this post, I feel that I should also share a couple of thoughts on the subject.

First of all, I would urge everyone to read Elder Oaks’s masterful talk from this most recent conference entitled Loving Others and Living with Differences. Elder Oaks specifically talked about rancorous discourse in politics. Continue reading

The Berlin Wall and Me.

Berlin 4It was June 3rd 1991, and I had graduated from high school exactly three days before. I sat with suit cases assembled at a gate in the Phoenix airport, surrounded by family, my friends, and my German teacher. A group of students from my school were headed off to Germany for a month to be exchange students in Berlin. It was going to be my first big adventure as a newly minted “adult”.

Fifteen hours and a very uncomfortable plane ride later, we landed in Munich. After we had toured Bavaria and Austria for a week, we boarded the equivalent of a Greyhound bus, and were Berlin bound. As we drove northward out of Bavaria into Thuringia, the roads became bumpier and less maintained; a sign of communist neglect. We passed fields of bright yellow flowers and forests of thick green trees. What a contrast to the monolithic apartment blocks and dismal architecture of East Germany. As we approached Berlin, evidence of East Germany’s desire to keep people from fleeing to the west became very evident. Abandoned, yet intimidating, grey gates and check points were our gateway into Berlin. Shortly we would meet our host families and begin our stay in the Spandau Quarter of the city, and would attend Hans-Carossa Oberschule. Continue reading

Opportunity Cost and the Stay-At-Home-Mom

Opportunity cost 1There has been a lot of flap … and I mean more than the usual amount of flap over a comment Pres. Obama made last week regarding working moms and stay-at-home moms, and the meaning behind what he said. I have mostly stayed out of the flap, but after reading thru a comment thread on facebook about this topic, which only involved men, I wanted to say my bit.

Here is what Obama said, “”Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

Some people have felt it was a slam on stay-at-home-moms, some have defended the statement by saying that it was intended to help women who work outside of the home. I will tell you what I think and why.

Before I do that, however, I want to establish baseline so you can understand where I am coming from. In my former life, I taught high school social studies. My favorite subject to teach was economics (I know my three, yes three, BYU Econ 110 professors are laughing at that now, but anyway …)

The first thing I would always explain to my students was, opportunity cost. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines this as: “The added cost of using resources (as for production or speculative investment) that is the difference between the actual value resulting from such use and that of an alternative (as another use of the same resources or an investment of equal risk but greater return).” In every economics textbook I ever learned from or taught from they always used the examples of guns and butter to explain this concept. I know, because those two things totally go together, right? But the example explained that you have a certain number or amount of resources. You have to decide how many guns, or how much butter you are going to make from your resources.

Really, though, in plain English what opportunity cost means is, you can’t do it all, or have it all, or buy it all, because you have finite resources which will not cover everything. Those resources might be time, money, talent, or a number of other things. But the fact remains, we all make choices every day, all day, in which we sacrifice one thing for another. Guns or butter, you decide. Continue reading