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Faking It

I rode the bus from one city to another. When we boarded in the capital, one young woman got on in extremely “liberated” attire for that country: she wore tight pants, a revealing tank top, and had long extensions braided into her hair.

As soon as the bus got going, she started her transformation Read more »

My Comfortable Massage Discomfort

On Saturday, I had to go to a managment retreat for my work. While there, my wife talked me into getting a massage (paid for by my work). When asked if I preferred either a male or female therapist, I asked for a female, but there were none available, so I had a male therapist give me a massage.

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Many Reasons for Concern

In the news and even in the lives of some people around me, I’ve been observing a number of recurrent issues that all seem to point in a similar, negative direction. Here are just some of them: Read more »

If you want your kids to serve Japanese missions, move to Payson

When I served in Japan 10 years ago, there was a well-known Japan-Payson connection. I only had one Paysonite companion, but there were five (5) Paysonite elders in my MTC district and many more in my mission. Read more »

Co-ed living

Living with large numbers of men in college prepared me for marriage.

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Introducing DCcLemon

Mormon Mentality is happy to have DCcLemon as a guest blogger.  DCcLemon is a long time lurker, first time poster.  She’s looking forward to leaving lurkerhood and joining the conversation.  Perhaps her example will encourage other lurkers to comment on occasion.

A bit of background information would perhaps be useful.  She’s a married mother of three, works part-time, and her current priority is getting her youngest to sleep through the night.

An invitation for you lawyers

and everyone else, for that matter, to offer your best legal opinions and/or satire.


Living on the Edge

Some time ago my little branch got a new leader. He was, in my opinion, an unlikely suspect, but frankly the likely suspects had already taken their turns.

Soon after he became branch president, this man spoke of a rash of near misses. Most of these included recreational vehicles and, ahem, stupidity Read more »

A Point of Particular Impact

Last night a companionship of three sister missionaries came by to visit with us.   We enjoyed having them in our home and the message they had to share with us.

In the midst of our discussion, the topic of the recent events involving the FLDS arose and the sisters related to us that they have seen a noticeable and negative change in the way some potential contacts respond to them.

Specifically, one of the sisters said she is seeing a lot more of the “don’t even talk to me” reaction from those she tries to contact.  While the sisters were upbeat and positive, it saddened me to hear that they were having this experience with people.  It’s not surprising if one thinks about it – but this conversation brought into focus for me the realization that this whole controversy places (unjustly, I think) a skeptical spotlight on not only the LDS Church but also, more particularly, on LDS women.

I don’t have any special wisdom or ideas to deal with this situation.  All I can really say is if there are missionaries (particularly sister missionaries) working in your area, this is probably an important time to show some extra support for their efforts.

Behind the scenes at “The Mormons”

For those of you who haven’t seen the Northern Lights blog, it’s a blog devoted to faithful LDS first-person perspectives on same-gender attraction. Several of the guys over at Northern Lights have posted on their interactions with the production staff of Helen Whitney’s The Mormons, and there are some interesting items to note there.  The decision to make Trevor Southey the film’s sole example of same-gender attraction in the context of our faith was a head-scratcher for me, since our basic position regarding same-gender attraction is mostly verifiable:

Notwithstanding your present same-gender attractions, you can be happy during this life, lead a morally clean life, perform meaningful service in the Church, enjoy full fellowship with your fellow Saints, and ultimately receive all the blessings of eternal life…
Same-gender inclinations may be very powerful, but through faith in the Atonement you can receive the power to resist all improper conduct, keeping your life free from sin.

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America’s Worst Foreign Policy Blunder Ever

I’ve heard that phrase applied twice recently to the Iraq War. First time it came out of Jimmy Carter’s mouth, and just last week, Madeleine Albright made the same claim. Even if you sympathize with Carter and Albright’s dim view of the second Iraq war, the long term consequences are not completely known, so whatever the deficiencies of the Iraq war, for now their belief must be classified as a prediction, not a careful judgment made by informed consideration of American history. Though they used the word ‘history,’ that statement is not really about history. (Another possibility, though I prefer the other one, is that Carter and Albright just don’t know much American history.)

My purpose in bringing this up is not, please no, to reopen wounds or reignite a debate that few of us can have dispassionately and respectfully. Instead, it is to ask (the current Iraq war excluded) what is the worst foreign policy blunder ever made by this country? In other words, let’s open some different partisan wounds! That way, at some future date when we can evaluate the Iraq war with the full benefit of hindsight, we will be able to place the Iraq war and all its associated costs and consequences, foreseen and unforeseen, in proper perspective. I will propose several here, but I think–whatever your partisan affiliation–you could probably find foreign policy decisions that were much more catastrophic than the Iraq war will turn out to be, even if the worst things people say about it come to pass. A cynic could say to Carter and Albright, “You think the Iraq war is a disaster? Don’t worry. We could do a lot worse. And we have!”

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New twist in FLDS raid

I woke up this morning to the local (Denver Channel 2) news reporting that a Colorado Springs woman had been arrested for “false reporting” in connection with the Texas raid on the FLDS compound in Texas. I couldn’t find information on that channel’s website, but one of the TV stations down in Colorado Spring had this story on their website:

Colorado Springs Police say a woman arrested for false reporting in Colorado Springs has not been charged at this time in connection with the Texas case.

Springs Police confirm the Texas Rangers were in the city Wednesday as part of their investigation into the compound. A spokesperson for the Texas Rangers confirms they have had several calls about an out-of-state arrest, but they have no comment at this time.

Springs Police will only confirm that 33-year-old Rozita Swinton was arrested Wednesday evening for False Reporting in connection with a February incident in Colorado Springs.

There is no word on what her connection might have been in the Texas case, in which hundreds of children were seized from a polygamist compound.

This came after someone claiming to be a 16-year-old girl called an abuse hot line claiming her husband — a 50-year-old member of the sect — beat and raped her. The girl has yet to be identified by investigators.

As if this whole situation weren’t complicated and messy enough. ..bruce..

What do the Lord’s tools feel about their roles?

Most of you have heard by now about the raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch. There’s some excellent coverage at Messenger and Advocate.

I’ve been watching this anxiously for many days. As a 5th-generation Mormon, descended myself from polygamous families, and as the person I am (personal history, opinions, experiences and such), this hits a very sore spot.

Yesterday, I’d had enough. I was going to start a letter campaign. I was going to tell the Governor of Texas, my Congressman, the ACLU and anyone else I could think of exactly what I thought of the situation and I was going to encourage anyone who would listen to do the same. I was sure I was in the right. As I said my prayers last night, I asked for guidance, for help saying the right words. Read more »

Steering between Scylla and Charybdis

Like most Latter-day Saints in North America (and probably quite a few around the world), I have watched the events in Texas regarding the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church) unfold with a mixture of feelings. I believe there are some serious moral, legal, and Constitutional issues here, but I will leave that discussion in the hands of those better equipped to argue on both sides.

Even with my deep-rooted commitment to religious pluralism — which predates my own conversion to the LDS Church — I find myself wincing over the various details that keep coming forth in the aftermath of the raids on the FLDS compound. I worry both for those who have been caught up in this as well as for my own church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), since this will only serve to reinforce unfounded stereotype already prevalent about “Mormons” not just in the US but around the world

What has struck me, though, is that the FLDS Church, and particularly the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) group in Texas, reflects what I suspect many ‘liberal’ or ‘disaffected’ Mormons fear the LDS Church would become were it not for their valiant efforts. I say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but only somewhat; many who grumble or rant about ‘savage misogyny’ or ‘patriarchal abuse’ in the LDS Church likely feel that the FLDS Chuch is where we’re headed unless Church leaders pay attention to them.

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The Chocolate Buffet – Taste Of Heaven With A Side Of Guilt

On Saturday, my wife and I went to a Chocolate Buffet at a restaurant in Boston. The entire buffet was chocolate based – a mix of white, milk and dark. There were tables heaped with different chocolate desserts, toppings, etc. It was amazing. There were at least 100 different items to taste including: freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, different chocolate fruit tarts, a chocolate fountain with fruit for dipping to ice cream, chocolate crepes, chocolate cotton candy and assorted other tasty desserts. It was pure indulgence and worth the $30 each my wife and I paid – a splurge we rarely make.

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Not so Taxing

Paying taxes has never been particularly painful to me. I believe this puts me in the minority, but there it is. My basic approach to money is “easy come, easy go.” Read more »

Diamonds in the Muck

…Or, Finding the Gospel in strange places.

I just finished watching “Hellboy.”  Though I’d been hesitant about it at first, by the end I all but standing up and cheering.

“You have a choice!  Your father gave it to you!”   (Or, as I experienced that line, “You have a choice!  Your Father gave it to you!”)

What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once wondered. Is it his origins? The way he comes to life? I don’t think so.  It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he decides to end them” (emphasis added).

Not that I thought “Hellboy” was muck.  It’s just not the place I was expecting to encounter these pearls from the Gospel.

So, what gems have you found in what unexpected places?

Revisionist LDS Visual Aids?

A few weeks ago Proud Daughter of Eve asked for suggestions for leading a discussion of lesson #6 of the Joseph Smith manual.

I was given the opportunity to teach the same lesson last Sunday. I took the advice that I gave PDoE and asked first off about the depiction of the Aaronic Priesthood restoration that appears with this lesson in the manual.

Now I don’t know about you but this isn’t the picture that I was shown in Primary. Read more »

Why the Lord’s Supper matters

Notes from a lecture, delivered March 25, 2008.

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Mark 14:22-26

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Revisioning the Millennium

Please join us in welcoming our newest permablogger, bfwebster. This is his inaugural post at Mormon Mentality.

— Mormon Mentality Administration

Millennium — A thousand years of genealogy, temple work, proselytizing, and filling out reports, a prospect that can make wickedness and destruction look downright enticing. — Orson Scott Card, Saintspeak: A Mormon Dictionary (Orion Books, 1981)

Let me start by clarifying my premises. I fully believe in the prophecies regarding the tribulations of the last days preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ, as well as Christ’s reign upon the earth during a thousand-year period (the “Millennium”), to be followed by a great war and the transformation of the earth itself. I also think that the Book of Mormon events recorded in Helaman and 3rd Nephi are an effective type and shadow of the last days (and that Mormon deliberately cast them as such).
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