“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 »

Mormon History Association Conference Roundup

The MHA conference this year had more than 700 attendees and (as usual) more fascinating sessions than it was possible to attend. Plus, our own Matt Bowman received the Juanita Brooks award for best graduate student paper for his paper on 19th century rituals to raise the dead. (Congratulations, Matt!)

Here’s a brief list of the highlights, in no particular order:
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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?
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Genealogy is Hot

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

Priesthood Validity: LDS vs. RLDS/CoC Rematch

Yesterday, I published a post about the recent revelation received by Stephen Veazy, the CoC/RLDS prophet. I was surprised to see how many responses attacked the legitimacy of the revelation, either because it was too pedestrian or from the wrong prophet or part of the wrong scriptural tradition. For my part, I’m quite comfortable calling it revelation — and not just because I don’t want to refer to CoC scriptures using terms that I wouldn’t want used to describe our own. 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.
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Continuing Revelation: The LDS vs. RLDS/CoC — Who Wins?

About the same time that we “Utah Mormons” began passing rumors around about how historical our LDS General Conference was going to be, our restoration cousins of the Community of Christ church (known until April 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) had an historical conference of their own.

Specifically, their living prophet, President Stephen Veazey, put forth a revelation that the general body of the Community of Christ accepted as scripture. It is now Section 163 of their Doctrine and Covenants. (My apologies to any CoC readers if I haven’t characterized this correctly. I’m seeing this through the understanding I have of how the LDS church works.)
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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.
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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 »

J. Earl Carter to G. W. Bush: You’re Worse than I Was

Proving that he’s as shameless as he is stupid, J. Earl Carter announced yesterday that G. W. Bush’s foreign policy is “the worst in history.” Perhaps this criticism sounds plausible to those who have paid no attention to Carter’s own disastrous record of policies, but Carter, more than any other American president, has demonstrated, both during and after his presidency, an uncanny eagerness to betray freedom in the service of tyranny, and it won’t do to allow Carter’s statements to pass without comment. 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.
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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 »

Mormon History Association Conference 2007

I’m attending the MHA Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 24-27, which is a three-day academic conference where specialists in Mormon studies (including Mormons, non-Mormons, and ex-Mormons from all walks of life) present papers on the history of churches founded by Joseph Smith. The central theme of this conference will be the Utah War (aka Buchanan’s Blunder) and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

For those of you who don’t know about the Mormon Historical Association, the following is from the program of this year’s event:

The Mormon History Association (MHA) was founded under the leadership of noted historian Leonard J. Arrington in December 1965 at the American Historical Association (AHA) meeting in San Francisco. MHA was organized to promote understanding, scholarly research, and publication in the field of Mormon history. For the first seven years, until 1972, it operated as an affiliate of the American Historical Association. In 1972 it became an independent organization with annual conferences and publications. The Journal of Mormon History, the official publication of the association, began in 1974.

Those of us who are lucky enough to attend will be able to see the presentation of bloggernacle participants, including:

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