Religion Courses at BYU: embrace the change!

The Mormon blog sphere (I’ve decided there’s no real “Bloggernacle” anymore, it’s too divided and Balkanized to have such a unifying name anymore) has been abuzz about the recent changes at BYU for the religious class requirements. Generally, the consensus has been that this is a bad thing – even those not totally shocked have only offered a very qualified “wait and see” approach.

I, however, think the changes are (probably, likely) a good thing.

For those who came in late: Continue reading

LDS President Eyring to Speak at Vatican Colloquium Supporting Traditional Male-Female Definition of Marriage


On November 18th, 2014, President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be addressing a global meeting of faith leaders hosted by the Catholic Church at the Vatican. The meeting, called a “colloquium” will be opened by Pope Francis and is meant to bring world religious leaders together in support of the traditional, male-female definition of marriage. Continue reading

The Day of the Dead


As today is fast sunday, I wasn’t in a hurry to rush home when services let out this afternoon. So on a whim, I drove my car to the nearby cemetery where family members rest in peace.

It was a gorgeous fall day, bright and brisk. For me this cemetery is a place of happiness, a location we used to visit frequently as children, chasing the geese around the green lawns or feeding the black swan that lived near the central pond. My baby sister had been interred there in the late sixties, and so visiting the cemetery was something my mother did rather frequently.

In the nineties I had a child diagnosed in utero with a severe heart defect. Given the high probability of death, it was natural to contact this same cemetery to be the resting place for my son’s remains, were he to pass. After the brief, hopeful week following his birth, his heart gave out. So we laid him to rest in the same area where my sister was buried decades earlier, a heart-shaped corner of the cemetery known as BabyLand. Continue reading

Harry Reid’s most embarrassing moments

As many of us at M* have been writing for years, Harry Reid is a good latter-day Saint who is an embarrassment as a politician.

With any luck, Bro. Reid will soon be just another senator from Nevada and not the majority leader, and his many gaffes will be confined to the Nevada press, rather than the national scene. And we can all hope that in 2016 he will retire and do something more productive (perhaps become a senior missionary?). Most pundits are predicting the Senate will soon be taken back by the Republicans.

But in case Bro. Reid is inclined to think he still has a reason to be involved in the dirty world of politics, I would like to remind him of his worst gaffes, and I would ask M* readers to chime in.

Bro. Reid’s single most horrifying gaffe, in my opinion, is his completely unsubstantiated charge that Mitt Romney did not pay any taxes for 10 years. This ridiculous claim, in the middle of the 2012 contest, was part of a coordinated and incredibly slimy campaign by the Democrats against any honorable man (and a very flawed candidate, as I wrote here). I predict that Bro. Reid will repent about this very low moment in his life, either in the coming years or in the afterlife.

But this is not all. Bro. Reid went on to say that Mitt Romney, a former bishop and stake president, had “sullied” Mormonism. This coming from the man who once said Barack Obama could be elected because he is “light skinned” with “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Continue reading

Wizards and Witches in Mormon Consciousness

o-NEW-HARRY-POTTER-COVER-facebookWhen the series Harry Potter first came out, especially around the time the movie version was announced, a controversy was plastered all over the news. Many Christians (and a few Muslims) became concerned that young children could be introduced to real witchcraft and occult practices. The early years of the publication gave the scandal loving press a field day of news about a small group of frantic parents wanting to protect children against dark forces. The argument is that the book series may be fantasy, but it contains clear occult and magical elements. As one critic, Richard Abanes in an interview, explained:

Can my child find information in a library or bookstore that will enable them to replicate what they are seeing in the film or the book?’ If you go to The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings what you see in, story magic and imagination, it is not real. You can’t replicate it. But if you go to something like Harry Potter, you can find references to astrology, clairvoyance, and numerology. It takes seconds to go into a bookstore or library and get books on that and start investigating it, researching it, and doing it.

There is some truth to this, although taken to the extreme considering the story as a whole. There are magical incantations, potions, interactions with the spirits of the dead, blood oaths, and more mixed in with the purely imaginative. Children could research the “real” behind the fantasy and get into witchcraft. Then again, the same can be said about any topics in a work of fiction. Continue reading