Bailing Out Homeowners

I saw this morning that President Bush outlined a plan to reform the subprime mortgage industry and outline plans to help “Americans keep their homes.” I have been very interested to watch this whole real estate mess play out over the last year.
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Religious Claims of Exclusive Truth: Are They Optional?

Many people draw a distinction between churches that assert exclusive truth claims and churches that don’t, based on their belief that many religions don’t make exclusive truth claims. Nevertheless, even if some religions do not vocalize claims of exclusive truth, it’s poor logic to conclude that they don’t actually make such claims. All religions lay claim to exclusive truths.
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Movie Preview Review: September Dawn

I went to see September Dawn this afternoon, along with a several dozen people nationwide. As is my regular practice (e.g., with 300 and Spiderman 3), I’ve written reviews of trailers shown before the film rather then of the film itself.
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Orson Pratt Blows My Mind: III

The kingdom of God is an order of government established by divine authority. It is the only legal government that can exist in any part of the universe. All other governments are illegal and unauthorized. God, having made all beings and worlds has the supreme right to govern them by his own laws, and by officers of his own appointment. Any people attempting to govern themselves by laws of their own making, and by officers of their own appointment, are in direct rebellion against the kingdom of God. The antediluvians were overthrown by a flood, because they rejected the government of the Almighty, and instituted their own governments in its stead. Noah and his family were the only loyal and obedient subjects to the legal power: they alone were saved . . .The kingdom of God is a theocracy. And as it is the only form of government which will redeem and save mankind, it is necessary that every soul should be rightly and thoroughly instructed in regard to its nature and general characteristics.

The Kingdom of God (Liverpool: R. James, 1848) 1.

To be followed by future installments of the Orson Pratt Blows My Mind series.

LDS-themed Spam

Tonight HBO will show Kenneth Branagh’s unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Dallas Robbins wrote a post about it and this morning I re-visited the site to get some details on the subject.

I then noticed something attached to that post (in a comment) that I don’t think I’ve seen previously: LDS-themed spam. Read more »

Protect the Image of Mormonism: Kill Evangelicals

Disclaimer: The title of this blog article is satirical. The Mormon Mentality blog courageously opposes any attempts by Mormons to slaughter innocent evangelicals.

Michael Medved comes to the defense of Mormons in his recent commentary on the movie September Dawn, which will be released later this week. In addition to articulately describing the film’s historical faults and sensationalism, he notes that the film prompts a “puzzling question”:

Why frame an indictment of violent religiosity by focusing on long-ago Mormon leaders rather than contemporary Muslims who perpetrate unspeakable brutalities every day?

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Meeting to Death

You would think that a lifelong member of the Church would be accustomed to long meetings. After all, each week we endure a three-hour meeting, and if we’re “lucky” enough to have certain leadership responsibilities, that cranks up to anywhere from four to six hours. In fact, I’ve been enjoying a six-hour meeting schedule each Sunday for the past couple of years. Talk about a rowdy, good time.

So when my current job at a state agency assigned me to a committee that meets each week for two to four hours, I didn’t think much of it. I’m a meeting veteran. A two-hour meeting? Please. The equivalent of skipping sacrament meeting and showing up for Sunday School and Elders’ Quorum would be a Mormon vacation of sorts.

But there was a catch. Read more »

Drunk Driver

Two years ago, I took the back road home, as is my custom and got behind a drunk driver.    When I first noticed him, he was driving down the left side of the road.  I slowed down, gave him room, and the benefit of the doubt.  It’s a country road and people are sometimes tourists.

 He abruptly swerved into the right lane for a few seconds, then back into the left lane with a car approaching.  He had room to get out of the way, but I called 911 on my cell at that point.  I thought it might be kids playing chicken or a drunk driver. Read more »

The Beatitudes, or, What I said at Sunstone

This is my response to Jody England Hansen’s fine paper on the Beatitudes, delivered Saturday afternoon at Sunstone.

If you can’t tell, I’m a closet Lutheran.

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Public Restroom Etiquette – Please Follow The Rules!

Like all men, I have used many public restrooms over the years (even those at Church). In doing so, I have found four particular behaviors most bothersome to me. However, I would guess that these behaviors are predominant in men’s restrooms, but probably not as dominant in women’s (of course, I have no data for this).
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Doctrine — can less be more?

When my parents married, they did a very smart thing; they decided to seek marital counseling often, regardless of how their marriage was going. The counselor they saw and became close friends with over a span of decades was the late Carl Broderick, one of my favorite intellectuals and a man the Church was very blessed to know. In one of his talks, The Uses of Adversity, Dr. Broderick related some terrible and tragic ironies faced by people with whom he had counseled, and he delved into some lessons learned from those experiences. The essence of his message can be found in this passage:

I think we do not understand the nature of ourselves. I think we do not understand who we are. Some people call the temple ordinances the “mysteries” of the kingdom. When I went to the temple, I thought I was going to learn which star was Kolob, where the Ten Tribes were, and other such information. But those aren’t the mysteries of the kingdom; the mysteries of the kingdom are who we are, and who God is, and what our relationship to Him is. Those are the mysteries of the kingdom. You can tell somebody in plain English, but they still don’t know in their hearts who they really are.

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President James E. Faust, 1920-2007

This will be a short post;  I must confess that over the years, I don’t think I was drawn to Pres. Faust and his teachings the way I have been to other General Authorities of the Church.  But years ago, he gave a talk with a quote that always endeared me to him: Read more »

Divorce: The Rest of the Story

There are always two sides to a divorce.  Always.  While there are, of course, the huge issues of abuse, most of the time, it takes two people to lose a marriage.

 For instance, Bill’s former wife left him for another man and spent a couple of years being quite promiscuous.  She left her kids, as well, Bill was a skinny, nervous, stressed-out “Mr. Mom” when I met him.  It was easy to blame her.    She certainly had made some selfish and disastrous behavior choices. Read more »

Why I Went to College

In the spring of 1989, I was 20 and I still planned on taking over the world. I’d been running my first business for close to two years with no vacation, working through most weekends, to the tune of over 120 hours per week. When a friend of mine who was attending BYU called and invited me to come and visit him, it occurred to me to take some time off of work. So I actually booked a vacation to Provo, Utah. Imagine that: a vacation to Provo, Utah. My only excuse is that working like a dog for two years plays terrible tricks on one’s sense of what is normal.
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Joseph Smith Seminar 2007: The Paper Abstracts

By now, Jim Faulconer has made you all aware that tomorrow, August 9, the Joseph Smith Summer Fellows will be presenting the results of our six-week immersion into Mormonism at the turn of the last century – the world of BH Roberts and James Talmage, the Smoot hearings and the Japanese mission, evolution and the Manifesto, optimism about eternal progression and apprehension about cultural assimilation.

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The New Home Run Record: A Time to Hate

The baseball gods were unusually cruel last night. Red Sox lose. Yankees win. And then the inevitable: 756. I knew it was coming. Everyone knew it was coming. But hope springs eternal, and I held onto my sliver of faith that some way, somehow, the baseball gods would intervene and prevent the injustice. But it was not to be. A mighty, drug-powered swing of the bat, and a smirky grin plastered on an oversized head rounding the bases.

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Conversation during a lull

This conversation was heard during that lull in Relief Society when they announce there’s fifteen minutes (FIFTEEN MINUTES????) for testimony bearing.
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Romney Fights for His Faith

Have you seen the video wherein Romney goes to bat for Mormonism in a candid moment? In it, Jan Mickelson is interviewing Romney for WHO in Ioma. It’s a pretty standard interview, until they go off the air. Unaware that the camera is still rolling, Romney starts arguing in earnest with Mickelson about Mormonism.

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Gardening advice from the Church

Here is a page in the Church’s FHE manual that discusses container gardening:

Many people who live in apartment buildings or houses with little or no yard space may think they cannot follow the prophet’s counsel to plant a garden. But you can grow quite a bit of food in pots and hanging planters inside your home or on a balcony. This activity will help you get started gardening in containers. Even if your family has plenty of outdoor garden space, you might want to try growing some of your vegetables indoors.

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Does “Grounded” Help Kids Find Common Ground?

The Deseret News has an article today on a DVD sold to Christian youth ministers in Utah aimed at helping kids interact in a positive way with their LDS friends, school mates, and neighbors.  The article is a bit ambiguous as the whether the DVD is anti-Mormon or not.  At one point in the article a minister asks a question that many LDS would find offensive:

The Rev. Johnson asked “Josh” whether he thinks he’s taking a large step in looking to become a Latter-day Saint — whether he sees it as a lateral move within the Christian tradition, like moving from Calvary Chapel to Trinity Baptist, or whether he sees it as more dramatic, like leaving Christianity to join Islam.

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