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“I’m One Person Who Will Not Vote for a Mormon”

“I’m one person who will not vote for a Mormon,” Al Michaud of Dover shouted at Romney when the former Massachusetts governor approached him inside Harvey’s Bakery. Romney was kicking off the second of two day’s worth of campaign visits in the lead primary state.

Romney kept smiling as he asked, “Can I shake your hand anyway?”

Michaud replied, “No.”

You can read the article here and some analysis (with links to additional assessments) here.

[hat tip to my uncle Tracy Hall who sent me these links via email]

Family Home Evening – Open Thread

I’m a little bit curious about family home evening in practice. This is intended to be an open thread – though I’ve written up a number of questions to stimulate thought and invite response. Feel free to answer any of them or to add some questions/thoughts of your own in the comments. If there’s any purpose to these questions, it’s to invite candid response or practical/constructive advice on the subject. Read more »

13 Questions for Susan Ray Schmidt, “His Favorite Wife”

We are delighted to introduce you to Susan Ray, author of “His Favorite Wife.”

Susan was raised in Mexico, when her parents left Mormonism and moved to be in the heart of the LeBaron clan. They believed that Ervil LeBaron was their prophet.

Susan married Ervil’s brother, Verlan, when she was just fifteen and had, I think, six kids in the ten tumultuous years that followed. Broken down in heart and body–disillusioned with this man she loved deeply, although he was more than twenty years her senior, she finally left polygamy. Read more »

Relief Society Roast

The teacher today sort of roasted her husband. She is wonderful, warm, funny, smart and sweet. Extremely positive. So was the tone of her lesson.

I’ve always watched this family and been impressed by their good example. They are genuinely good people and a genuinely happy family. Their kids are achievers and simply awesome, respectful, that kind of kid. Her husband is now a counselor in our bishopric. I love him, he’s got this dry wit.

Anyway, and I cannot remember why she told this story, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it and snickering as the lesson continued. She said one day as she was moving boxes around, she found a letter her husband had written her when they were first married (I think they’ve been married around 20 years). It was loving. It was mushy.

She read it, smiled, and set it on her night stand to read again. Later, her husband came home and found this letter. He went to her at once.

“Who wrote you this letter? Who wrote this? I want to know!” He’s all fuming and jealous. She stared at him incredulously. She said it took a few minutes to convince him that he wrote it.

A few minutes later, her husband got dinged again. Her daughter, a Laurel, was sitting in front with her teacher — sometimes they come in. My friend discussed people who are negative and complain constantly, then she looked at her daughter and asked, “who does that remind you of?”

“Dad?” Her daughter asked tentatively.

“No!” she exclaimed, “Laman and Lemuel!”

That pretty much brought the house down. And the really bad thing is she swore us to secrecy. Which I’m now doing here. Don’t tell anybody.

To the Pastor II:

Margaret Young at By Common Consent has written to you before about life in the LDS church. In moving terms and with beautiful metaphor she described her experience with the gospel as a born and bred member of an active family. The picture I have to share with you is different but is an equally important part of what it means to be Mormon. Read more »

US Mormons & The Immigration Debate

Given the tremendous amount of rhetoric begin thrown about by every side possible, I have been thinking about it from the context of Mormonism. I am pretty confident in my stake (which has 1 Spanish Ward, 2 Spanish Branches and 1 Portueguese Branch) that we have a lot of illegal immigrants – I know several who are doing “under the table” jobs for other members. I would guess this is not dissimilar from many other language units (and even English units) throughout the US. The question I have been thinking about is “Am I supporting “law breakers” and not being “honest in my dealings with my fellow men” by not reporting these people to the ICE?” Am I upholding the laws of the land if I hire an illegal alien and have them clean my house?
Read more »

Genealogy is Hot

Google has introduced a new feature called “Google Hot Trends.” Read more »


In response to renewed rocket attacks, the Israelis have begun to attack and bomb the homes and vehicles of Hamas members and leaders. This blunt approach is not altogether surprising. Israel has previously assassinated Hamas leaders (most prominently, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin) and attempted assassinations of others (ex: Khaled Meshal). In the midst of this offensive against Hamas, those who can read between the lines see that Israeli representatives are threatening to kill the current Palestinian prime minister (and Hamas leader) named Ismail Haniyeh: Read more »

The Misadventures of a Straight Man in Gay Pants

It all started when I was in my second year of law school and my wife and kids went to visit her parents for a few weeks and we decided to save a little money by subletting our house and having me sleep on the couch in the basement apartment of our friend Justin, who happens to be gay.
Read more »

10th Anniversary of Cloning – “Much Ado About Nothing…”

Ten years ago this year, the cloning of Dolly the Sheep (named after Dolly Parton as her original DNA came from a breast cell), was announced to much fanfare, negative press, and hoopla (see Nature. 1997 Feb 27;385:810-813). Cloning of a mammal had seemed impossible to many scientists, but it was pulled off using a sheep and some complex science.
Read more »

Two LDS Senators in London

Last night, the mission president of the England, London mission, President Folger, hosted a “Why I Believe” fireside featuring U.S. Senators Gordon Smith (R. Ore.) and Orin Hatch (R. Utah), as well as two recent converts and the President of the Europe West Area, Elder Kenneth Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

The Spirit was strong as the two Senators related their experiences and faith in the Gospel. The common thread running through both of their comments — although otherwise very different — was the power of the Book of Mormon in their own spiritual development and conviction that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true (by which both of them meant that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Priesthood of God are found exclusively in the Church). Read more »

Redeeming the Prophets

In reading through the remarks of Elders Holland and Jensen on the Interviews page for the recent PBS documentary, it’s interesting to see just how strongly they feel about honoring their predecessor general authorities. Both are asked questions regarding the denial of the Priesthood to blacks pre-1978, and both are very careful not to say anything that might be construed as disparaging about Church leaders who came before, while also stressing that the “folklore” various Church leaders taught to explain or justify the priesthood ban should be abandoned and not repeated in the future.

I understand, respect, and definitely appreciate the importance of order and precedent in Church governance, and I understand the point of view that argues that the “folklore” explaining the ban was not official Church doctrine, and therefore, the Church does not need to issue a formal renunciation of those ideas and/or an apology for the ban.
Read more »

Mormon Afterlife

I have often heard the argument that although the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy in 1890, it still clings to the doctrine because it retains the concept of “Families Can Be Together Forever” and the concept of sealing families in the temples. The twin notions of temple sealing and “Celestial Marriage” as contained in Doctrine & Covenants 132, it is said, establish that Latter-day Saints believe that polygamy will be practiced in heaven even if the Church has rescinded the practice on earth. Read more »

With Purse and Scrip

Here in New York City I occasionally run into the full-time missionaries. Usually when that happens, if I have some cash in my pocket, I give them a little money so they can “go buy a sandwich” or some kind of snack. I imagine that street contacting in NYC can be challenging and it’s my way of trying to boost their spirits a little bit. As I remember it, when I was a missionary, seeing a friendly face and having a little food in my stomach could make a big difference. Read more »

The Day I Nearly Drowned to Death on My Mission

It’s true. When I was a missionary I almost drowned to death. It was one of the few times in my life that I ever thought I was going to die. Read more »

Best Ward Mother’s Day Gift Ever!

Wards struggle to give good little gifts for Mother’s Day. Growing up I remember a lot of years in which a single marigold was given to each women as sacrament meeting ended. I have no idea what percentage of those got planted. This year the bishopric gave out chocolate covered strawberries. Giant ones. The only downside? All the kids wanted to steal them from their moms. Dads might have wanted to steal them too, but I didn’t see any of them actually try to do so.

Anybody have good ideas for such gifts? What are the best and worst that you’ve seen a ward give out?

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

I recently had my auras and chakras read at a spa and mine was my least favorite color, orange. Well, it was yellow-orange, reflecting my intellectual qualities (which pale in comparison to the rest of the bloggernacle, I know. I also had some green, reflecting I can’t remember.

Well, as you can imagine, knowing me, yellow orange is a social, friendly person with an intellectual bent.
Read more »

Water Storage

Living in a NYC apartment means that there is limited space to store water and food that is meant for emergency use. One of the main concerns I have is that we have clean water to drink in case of emergency. Read more »

Mormons & Infallibility Of The Leadership

In Sunday School over the past few years I have had numerous experiences where fellow Sunday Schoolers make comments such as “I think that whatever the prophet says is right and I will follow him.”, “If the prophet told me to store mud in glass jars in my basement I would.”, “When the prophet says jump, we should ask how high and not why.”, “If you question or doubt the Prophet you are on the slippery slope to Apostasy.”, I think you get the point. 

Read more »

What does true mean?

If I were called on to bear my testimony in church, this is what I would have to say:

I believe that Joseph Smith saw and spoke to God. I believe he translated the Book of Mormon and that it is in fact the word of God. I believe that we alone have the priesthood. I believe that Christ is at the head of this church.

I probably wouldn’t add the caveat: I also believe other churches are “true.” Read more »

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