Minorities In The Church – Where Are They In The GA Ranks?

I recently published an article in Dialogue relating to minorities in the Church (see Dialogue Winter, 2005 www.dialoguejournal.com). In this article I used a couple of methods (see article) to calculate the % of members who are of ethnic European ancestry vs those who are not of this ancestry (e.g., Asian, Latin, and/or African ancestry). This analysis demonstrated that at the end of 2002, Ethnic Europeans comprised approximately 51% of total Church membership. This had declined from approximately 58% of total Church members at the end of 1992. This is hardly surprising to active members of the Church who follow Church statistics as it is clear that the vast majority of new converts tend to come from developing areas of the world such as Latin American, Western Africa, and Asia. I then determined that the percent of Members of Ethnic European descent fell below 50% in late 2003/early 2004 which is truly a milestone for the Church. While this is the good news, I was disappointed when I did a similar analysis of the General Authorities of the Church (only those in the First Two Quorums of the Seventy, The Presiding Bishopric, The Quorum of the Twelve, and First Presidency) to assess what percentage of the leadership is of Ethnic European ancestry looking at 1992 vs 2002 (note the only ethnic minorities were in the first two Quorums of Seventy in either year). Within the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, there were 14 ethnic minorities in 1992 and 8 in 2002 for a total of 13.6% and 7.4% of the total General Authorities, respectively. This means that in the last ten years the number of ethnic minorities serving as General Authorities has declined by nearly half, while the total number of General Authorities has actually increased by 5.Thus, while the total number of ethnic minorities in the Church surpassed 50% in 2003/2004, the number of ethnic minorities serving in the General Authority ranks has actually declined by half over the last 10 years. Is this a problem? Does it matter? I have my own thoughts on this but wanted to tee it up for discussion….

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Uno-fication on a New York City Subway

I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. – Doctrine and Covenants 38:27

Friday morning I walked onto a subway going from 42nd street to 14th Street (Union Square). Read more »

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Why Was Jesus Crucified?

Images and descriptions of Christ’s Crucifixion dominate the Christian understanding of the atonement. Even Mormons summon the gruesome details of Roman capital punishment to buttress the emotional impact of their atonement rhetoric. Yet the accepted Mormon theology places the Grand Finale of Jesus’s mortal ministry squarely in the Garden of Gesthemane. There He bled from every pore atoning for our sins, the sins of the world. Christ did not, strictly speaking, die for our sins.

The execution narrative that follows the story of the atonement appears to be mere epilogue: being betrayed by one of His own, being dragged away to a series of show trials, being brutally beaten and mocked, and being crucified. My question is quite simple: Why?

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A Difference of Opinion?

I always pick up the Deseret News and SLC Tribune when I go in Wal-Mart, maybe twice a month. I turn first to Kirby’s column–he said something really funny today: (speaking of waiting for a baby to be born) “it’s so boring I would actually rather be in church.” I don’t feel that way about too many things. But that’s another post.

I enjoy the Deseret News also. But this afternoon, as I was perusing both papers, I noticed something interesting.

This is the headline on the front page of the Deseret News: “U.S. Presents Timeline for Iraq.” Big letters, top of the page.

The Tribune carried the same story on its front page, but it was down on the bottom, in smaller print. The title read: “A Timeline? Iraq plan met with skepticism.”

They both are talking about the same event, but obviously each paper has a different take on said event.

Obviously each paper has an opinion. Obviously they differ. What the heck happened to journalistic objectivity?

If I don’t totally forget the second I get off my computer, I’m going to check out each papers’ take on the Romney situation. And I’ll report back.

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“I’m Leaving and I’m Never Coming Back!”

When we were little , my sister had a younger next-door-neighbor friend who would come over almost every day. If for some reason things weren’t going this friend’s way (say for example, she was losing a game of Monopoly), she would start to have a tantrum, shed tears, cry out “I’m leaving and I’m never coming back” and stomp out the door. On her way out she projected forlorn glances, her body-language demanding that we plead for her to stay. Read more »

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United Nations Day

Sixty-one years ago today, in the wake of World War II, the United Nations opened its doors. It was ostensibly intended to create unity between the nations of the world into to achieve lasting peace. Critics of the UN, of which there are many, are quick to point out that during the past 61 years there have been a number of wars, conflicts, and other terrible things, despite any (or because of) involvement by the UN. Read more »

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Eye of the Needle–Re-post

This was accidentally deleted in what will hopefully be a learning experience for Mormon Mentality. With a little help from danithew, I am going to try to re-post my thoughts, but, unfortunately, I can’t remember the comments (thank you for those comments, by the way) that had already been made to re-post those.

My wife and I live in a pretty affluent part of the country, and we both have advanced professional degrees that may potentially give us lucrative jobs at some point. As I’ve been thinking about what direction I want my career to take, I’ve been reflecting on some of the successful Latter-Day Saints that I know, and, although there are some notable exceptions, quite a few of the successful Latter-Day Saints I know are wealthy. I don’t mean to demean any of these people because these are some of the best people I know. Many of them are kind, generous, and charitable. All of this brought to mind the well-known scripture in Mark 10:25: Read more »

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Joseph Smith, apophatic mystic

Well, not precisely. As with so much else, Joseph played his own riff on the instruments of classical Christianity. But the concept’s worth thinking about, I think, if for no other reason than to remind us that there’s a whole lot of Christian history out there, and Mormonism overlaps in surprising ways much, much more than most of us think. Read more »

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A Statement of Faith

We went to see Superman Returns last night. The first two minutes were great, the rest was fine as well. We would have seen it earlier but we had other priorities on nights when we had a babysitter.

On the way home we noticed people in the middle of the street and realized there had been an accident and that emergency workers hadn’t arrived yet. My wife is a doctor so I put on my hazard lights and drove up as close as I could. She jumped out and I found a place to park the car.
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Who Do Romney and Reid Represent Anyway?

I doubt that it surprises many Mormons that Mitt Romney wants to leverage his religion to drum up his support among co-religionists. It does, however, surprise the Boston Globe, and in all likelihood it surprises a lot of its readers. The more others view Mormonism as normal, the more shocked they are to see evidence of the prevalent us-versus-them mentality among Mormons.

Last week, I posted an article about Senator Reid’s ethical problems. The two dominant strains in the comments were disappointment and defense. Aside from Arnold Layne and myself (and I am not Arnold Layne), very few people were willing to attack Senator Reid for his moral lapses.

We do not have to search far to find examples of this kind of us-versus-them attitude in the larger world. Read more »

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Chapel Open House

Our new chapel had an open house on Friday evening and Saturday morning/afternoon. Those associated with the two Manhattan wards meeting in the new building were encouraged to invite their friends to attend. Read more »

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random’s Thoughts on Perfecting the Saints

I gave the following talk a little over a year ago as our family was leaving the Boston II Ward. Apologies to ECS who has already heard it. I’m posting it at the request of annegb. I had sent a copy to her in response to an entry on her blog about some less than perfect interactions she was experiencing at church. I hope that it avoids the pitfalls recently mentioned at BCC. Oh, and feel free to steal it if you are a big enough geek to pull it off. Read more »

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Liz Phair and the dilemmas of Mormon filmmaking

In 1993, Liz Phair released Exile in Guyville, an indie-rock album she called a female’s response to the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. Read more »

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“God is Dead?”

This is my first blog on this site and I decided to tackle a simple subject… Nietzsche’s famous statement that “God is dead” was a commentary on society that meant (as far as my non-philosophical self can determine — note that I am a Molecular Biologist by training) that we (as a society) can not believe in a God as we no longer recognize that one is there. Rather than get into a discussion on Nihilism which will completely tangle my brain up, I would rather focus on my own recent journey down the “God is dead” path. My father died suddenly in January, 2006 of a blood clot to the brain. I was able to speak with him the night before he died, but had no inkling that he would be dead the next day. One thing I have always thought (naively perhaps) was that when someone close to me died, I would feel something. I am not sure what that something was, but figured I would feel some sort of spiritual feeling of comfort or get some sign from that person that everything was going to be ok. Well, maybe I have watched too many cheesy Church videos or sat through too many Testimony meetings, but these were my thoughts. Read more »

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The Truth We Manage

Most Mormons and non-Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon stands or falls based on its historicity. From the point of view of many Mormons, this historicity is among the foundational truth claims of our Church. I believe that this is a category mistake. Historicity is not truth. Truth is composed of (more or less) verifiable details. Historical authenticity is a tradition. Read more »

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Confessions of My Father’s Daughter

I smelled it on the street last evening, just a whiff left by somebody who must have just gotten into a car. He – it must have been a he – couldn’t have been going into a building, and it calls for more leisure than a cigarette addict can spare on a 10-minute break. So I imagine his wife must have been late driving by the corner where she picks him up from work, and he had pulled out his pipe, filled its bowl with tobacco, and patiently passed the time waiting for his ride.

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EQ Uncertainty Principle

Taryn’s thought provoking post on RS over at BCC has reminded me of a concept that I’ve held for a while. It is based on the Hisenburg Uncertainty Priciple which I only claim to understand on a hand wavy level. In fact, while doing some reading in preparation for my post I found that my understanding is the “Common incorrect explanation” listed on the rather detailed article found on Wikipedia. Luckily for us we are large enough for this to not be a problem in our everyday lives, as we are not sub-atomic particles.
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Eric and Dylan

I never knew them, of course, but they are real to me. I can see their faces, Eric was good looking, a perfect shaped face. I was drawn as a teenager to boys with thin faces, when you could see the bones in their faces. Sort of like, um, Sam Shepherd, or Brad Pitt when he was skinny. I think Eric’s eyes were blue, intelligence shining out. He looks confident and happy, smiling. Read more »

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Yes, but Did Senator Reid Pay His Tithing? (updated)

Update 2: This just in: The “other side” article linked to below appears to be altogether mistaken. Evidence indicates that Senator Reid did receive the entire purchase price of the land ($400,000) from the LLC in return for selling it to the LLC; his failure to report the transaction was no mere technicality. Since Senator Reid was completely compensated for the land when he sold it to the LLC, the $1.1 million recently paid Senator Reid by the LLC after the LLC sold it was 100% profit. Thus, Senator Reid does appear to be liable for tithing on $1.1 million.

Update 1: The other side of the story makes the claim that this is a hatchet job by trying to make it appear that a transfer of assets to an LLC is not a sale and by ignoring the fact that Reid did not report the handsome profit that the LLC paid to him after selling it. Also, apparently Senator Reid would be liable for tithing on no more than $700,000.


Well known Mormon and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid recently made in excess of $1 million $700,00 in excess of $1 million off of a what seems to be a fairly shady real estate investment. Furthermore, Senator Reid violated Senate ethics requirements by failing to disclose his profits on the deal.

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Studying Scripture As a Couple

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39

We have been reading scriptures together as a couple on a daily basis for most of the time we have been married. Usually it has been a chapter a day, though we doubled it up for a little while to meet President Hinckley’s challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2005.

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