Even More Strange Fiction by DKL

Nobody seems to like my fiction very much — “unfortunate” and “strange” are the words that I’ve most often heard describe it. I don’t say this to sulk or to complain, and I don’t mean to imply that my non-fiction posts are especially well-received either. I’m just relating the reactions as they’ve come in.

Undeterred as I am by constructive feedback, I have nevertheless continued to publish the occasional work of short fiction. The last short story that I published was posted here on this very blog (that link also has links to the other short fiction I’ve published on the web).

Therefore, I present this latest story of mine, if not for your enjoyment, then at least to satisfy your morbid curiosity. It is entitled:

Death between Friends

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What non-KJV New Testament Translation to Read?

JDC over at BCC has written some interesting thoughts on teaching Sunday School using non-KJV translation of the bible.  I am assuming that he has an assortment of translations available and intends to use whichever one happens to cast additional light on a particular passage.

I have been thinking about a similar topic for a few weeks now without doing anything about it.  In our efforts to read the New Testament this year as a couple my wife and I are looking for a way to do it without falling asleep.  I’ve been thinking that perhaps reading a different translation might be interesting.  Given that we’ve been reading exclusively from the KJV (well, in English at least) for our entire lives, we have no idea what a good alternative might be.  The point isn’t to abandon the KJV, but to get to the meaning a bit easier, to spice things up by seeing familiar passages rendered differently, and as I said, to stay awake more easily.

So I turn to you, MM readers.  What translations should we consider for the NT and why?

The Tombs of Jesus and the Holy Land Sham

As most of you know by now, the film maker who brought us Titanic has now brought us Christ’s coffin, and it ain’t empty.

I had to laugh when I saw this. For centuries, it had been a uniquely Christian tradition (I believe started by St. Helena) to “discover” items or artifacts relevant to Christ’s life. The fact that skeptics now want a part of this action is surely an instance of truth being stranger than fiction.

I’m reminded of what Mark Twain wrote about St. Helena’s “discoveries” in The Innocents Abroad. Read more »

Authority and the Role of Stigma in the Church

(At the request of a few curious readers, I’ve added a postscript below to provide more details surrounding the story that I use to make a point in this post.)

All this talk about the fallibility of leaders on big issues of long ago (here at BCC and here at FMH) makes me wonder at how much easier it is for people to admit the big mistakes of past leaders than to cop to the problems that continue to exist within the current culture of church leadership.

In November of 1990, President Ezra Taft Benson called me on a mission to Fukuoka (anglicized pronunciation: /fū-kū--kä/), Japan. So I entered the MTC in January of 1991, and there I stayed until about two weeks later, when Richard K. Klein, the MTC mission president, thought better of the prophet’s calling. “People like you shouldn’t go on missions,” he told me. And he promptly sent me home.

Richard K. Klein was later called to be an Area Authority Seventy. He died before I became active in the church again, thus robbing me of the opportunity to oppose his sustaining vote each year in general conference. Serves me right for going inactive.

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Pure Prejudice Toward Mormons Is Infuriating

I have been apalled (not necessarily surprised, however), by the recent vitriolic attacks on Romney – not because of any of his crazy political views, but because of his religion.  I saw on the Tuesday morning news that he was giving a speech in Florida and someone stood up and yelled something like you won’t be a good President because you are a Mormon and not a Christian.  If something like that happened to Joe Lieberman (for being Jewish) or Barak Obama (for being African) the media would be up in arms, but in this case the local news portrayed it, but not the national news.  Last week I heard a radio show (On Point) on NPR on Romney’s religion.  A number of anti and ex-Mormons called in to complain about the Church although most of them sounded like raving lunatics.  Some of the things they said were very inflammatory, however, the host did a nice job of being neutral although he did sound surprised at some of the comments.  In addition, the number of polls where people have been asked if they would vote for a Mormon is ridiculous – that is like asking someone if they would vote for a Jew.  It means nothing – ask them if they would vote for a person and see the responses.

I have not previously been eager to vote for Romney, but all of this bigotry is pissing me off (sorry don’t know if that word is appropriate in the ‘nacle, but it fits here) to the point that I would eagerly vote for him just to spite all of the prejudice persons out there.  I am not surprised so many Americans are bigots (including Mormons and myself to some degree) toward various groups – this is and has always, unfortunately, been a part of human history.  What surprises me is the open hostility and bigotry seen toward Mormons – something not seen in this country since the 1960s.  I know this issue have received a lot of play in the ‘nacle, but I am mad.  Am I missing something in my evaluation of the bigotry???  Anyone else pissed off?

I figure it would be justice if Romney actually won the Presidency (even if I don’t agree with a lot of his positions).  Thanks for reading – I feel much better now  :) 

Dixie Chicks: Ready to Make Money

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the Dixie Chicks and the five Grammies they were awarded. The articles talk about their troubles in the wake of their lead singer’s comment and how the Chicks have fought their way back; the Grammies they were given are widely viewed as rewards for their political bravery.

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Marriott Hotels Will Be Smoke Free

Bill Marriott has a blog now. In a post titled “Not Blowing Any Smoke” he writes about a decision to make all North American Marriott hotels smoke-free. At the end of the post he writes:

… more than 90 percent of Marriott rooms were already non-smoking, but we still had a lot of complaints from our guests about the lingering smell of smoke; more than we had requests for smoking rooms. All over America local jurisdictions are coming to the same conclusion we came to. They’re banning smoking in restaurants, bars, and public spaces. The bottom line is: it’s working for Marriott. Complaints from guests about second hand smoke have dropped 50 percent. We do a guest satisfaction study with our guests and find that our ratings have jumped very, very high on the “Room Smells Fresh and Clean” category. Some people argued that we should ban smoking in the public areas and not in the rooms, but that won’t work. We know that the rooms really do smell bad when people smoke in them, and it’s very hard to get the smell out. So we made what we think is the right decision, the best decision we could make to keep Marriott on the move.

It’s interesting to read the comments that follow the post. Some customers complain bitterly while others praise the decision. While I have no problem with the decision that’s been made, smoking just doesn’t bother me so much.

However, when I think about Bill Marriott being a famous Mormon and Marriott hotels holding to or contradicting LDS standards, the most striking offense is that many Marriott hotels offer pay-per-view pornography in their rooms. I’d be much more impressed to hear that Marriott hotels got rid of this latter option.

To be honest, I haven’t stayed in a Marriott hotel in years. So if my impression is incorrect, I’d be happy to find out that I’m wrong about this.

“More Testimonies Gained On The Feet Than On The Knees” Brigham Young

I love this quote from Brigham Young as I can certainly relate to it from the perspective of my own testimony.  While reading the scriptures and prayer have certainly helped me build a foundation, I think the overwhelming majority of my testimony has been gleaned on my feet.  I have had wonderful experiences in service, particularly working with youth in the Church.  Without these experiences, I feel my testimony would go stale regardless of how much praying and scripture reading I do.   From my limited experience, it seems that in the Church, there are two types of people with testimonies – knee people and feet people.  Knee people tend to pray and study the scriptures and gain tremendous testimonies in doing so (they also serve, but their testimony is primarily built on their knees and not on their feet).  Feet people tend to have their testimonies built on a foundation of the scripture/prayer, but the bulk of their testimony is built from the service they perform.  While neither is better than the other, both are critical for the success of the Church.  Which are you?  Why?

How Not to Quit Your Job

This has even less to do with Mormonism than some of our other recent posts.  You’ve been warned. Update: I’ve got a signed contract for the new venture.

I’ve been working seriously on quitting my job since last July.  At the time I had something of an urge to give my boss some warning.  Everyone that I spoke to told me that giving my boss the slightest hint was a terrible idea.  They were right.

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Lincoln and Joseph

A new daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln has turned up. It’s dated to the early 1840s, which puts it at least six or seven years before the previous holder of the Youngest Lincoln Image title, and thus shows Lincoln as a brash, self-confident young lawyer of around 32. The gaunt, careworn face of Lincoln the president is still years away. Read more »

Anna Nicole Smith: Soon to Be Eligible for Temple Work [updated]

This time next year, horny RM’s everywhere will be pressuring their girlfriends to do Anna Nicole Smith’s temple work. Nobody knows for sure how she died yet. My guess is that it was either Tonya Harding, or she fell in love with the wrong astronaut.


That first paragraph strikes me as pretty funny, but it’s also a bit cheap. Don’t let that keep you from laughing at it. Life is full of cheap laughs — that’s part of what makes it livable.

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Church Teaching Manuals & Correlation — Is it Broke? Can It Be Fixed?

I was recently called as a Primary teacher. As I read through the lesson manual about the lesson I am to prepare I was struck by how ridiculous the manuals are. For example, I was supposed to have 7-8 year olds split into small groups to discuss subjects such as “Firstborn” and then they were to present their group’s finding to the class — huh? These are 7-8 year olds with attention spans slightly longer than my own which is about 2 minutes. Further they don’t even know what the word “Firstborn” means.

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Casting Lunatic Astronauts

More news on the science front: The headline “NASA Love Triangle” does sound like something from The Onion, but it really happened.
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September Dawn

In May of this year, we will have the opportunity to see a Young Guns-type western called “September Dawn” focusing on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The Bloggernacle has looked at this topic before, last year at BT and yesterday at Mormon Wasp, among others (probably). Read more »

30% Interest a Month Is a Scam, Not a Blessing

Once again Ponzi schemes are making their way up and down the Wasatch Front. I’m not posting to discuss why it is that Mormons seem particularly susceptible to such scams. I just want to make a few points that seem to bear repeating and discuss a bit of history.

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I Wish Barbra Streisand Would Get Run Over By a Bus

Or stick to singing. I am annoyed by all celebrities’  strident harsh preaching to the masses who pay for their mansions. But Barbra Streisand gets on my nerves more than most. I don’t know why Sean Penn or Susan Sarandon assume that it is their civic duty to teach us right from wrong. They are wonderful actors, not so great as activists.

I’m not stupid, I can think for myself. And I think a God given talent for entertainment does not equal moral or reasoning superiority. 

And here we go with Barbra gleefully championing Hilary Clinton and skewering George Bush. I’m perturbed.

Jerry Falwell has nothing on her when it comes to self-righteousness.

I know it doesn’t make sense to be annoyed with celebrities speaking out. They are Americans just like me. But you know, I don’t hear Barbara listening to my opinion. I don’t hear her even caring if I have an opinion. I hear her thinking I’m too dumb to get anything right except my purchase of her CD’s.

Jared’s solution for Divine Strake

Divine Strake is big news in Utah. The government is going to set off a big bomb in the Nevada desert, using a nuclear detonator and people are afraid there will be another “downwinders” situation. I’m sort of uninterested.

My stepson proposed what I thought was a great solution the other day at dinner. He said, “why don’t we just set off the bomb in the desert of Iraq?” Nobody will get hurt and there’s something for everybody in it.

I think he’s right.

Super Bowl Thoughts

I watched some of the Super Bowl. With my children, ages 3 and 1. I was offended and turned it off and listened to their horribly annoying kiddie CD. It was an improvement. It isn’t that I don’t like football. As far as football is concerned I can take it or leave it. It wasn’t the crazy beer ads that turned me off either. It was the ads for the CBS shows. It seemed that every one of them featured gruesome dead bodies, explosions, guns being fired, or people getting stabbed with big menacing knives. Many of the show titles were rendered in what appeared to be splattered blood.

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Microsoft Windows: RIP

Experts have been predicting the demise of Apple for decades. It’s about time somebody predicted the demise of Microsoft. Here it is: Microsoft is dead. It’s old hat. It’s over. Move on. Install Linux. Install BSD. Get a Mac. Get a PlayStation. Get something. Just throw away your Windows box while it still sells for more than US$50.00 on eBay. Read more »

V is for Vindication

Have you seen the video of the two jokers who planted LED art all over Boston? It’s very, very funny. The authorities treated it as a genuine threat. I don’t think that the authorities can do anything very different from what they’ve done. They’ve got to have a uniform way of handling these kinds of things, because there really are lives at stake. Sure, they look a little silly, but when dealing with potential threats involving things in public places that might be explosives, one must be wrong a lot in order to be right at all.

The real idiots in this scenario is the press. These two guys come out of jail, and they obviously can’t discuss the charges against them. Then they meet the press, and what does the press ask them? About the charges. The guys make it painfully obvious that they’re not going to discuss the charges, and the press continues to ask about what? About the charges. And many of the questioners in the press become pretty peeved. Why? Because the guys won’t answer questions about the charges. As far as I’m concerned, they deserved to be made fun of.

The LED art? That was a bonehead move. Mocking, ridiculing, and making fun of the press like that? That warrants an executive pardon.