Zeniff: noble idealist or useful idiot?

I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and having had a knowledge of the land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance, and having been sent as a spy among the Lamanites that I might spy out their forces, that our army might come upon them and destroy them — but when I saw that which was good among them I was desirous that they should not be destroyed. . . .

And yet, I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our journey into the wilderness to go up to the land . . .

And I went into the king [of the Lamanites], and he covenanted with me that I might possess the land of Lehi-Nephi, and the land of Shilom. And he also commanded that his people should depart out of the land, and I and my people went into the land that we might possess it. . . .

Now it was the cunning and the craftiness of king Laman, to bring my people into bondage, that he yielded up the land that we might possess it. . . .

Therefore it came to pass that king Laman began to stir up his people that they should contend with my people; therefore there began to be wars and contentions in the land. For, in the thirteenth year of my reign in the land of Nephi, away on the south of the land of Shilom, when my people were watering and feeding their flocks, and tilling their lands, a numerous host of Lamanites came upon them and began to slaw them, and to take off their flocks, and the corn of their fields. . . . (from Mosiah 9)

Discuss, with extra credit for any modern-day applications (keep it civil, folks).  ..bruce..

P.S. I should have noted this in the original post: the phrase “useful idiot” has a long history in geopolitics.

30 Comments
Where “Rough Stone Rolling” bowled me over.

At 5:16 p.m. on June 27th I want you to stop and take a look around. What do you see? What do you hear?

Contrast that with Joseph Smith’s last minutes.

Read more »

13 Comments
Bird Flu – Great Food Storage Motivator?

The headlines may have died down in recent months, but bird flu experts say that the threat of a global pandemic has actually been growing. The World Health Organization outlined the spread of the bird flu virus around the world to 150 experts drawn together to discuss protective measures.

Read more »

23 Comments
Top Ten Quotes from this Year’s Joseph Smith Manual

Here are some gems from this year’s Priesthood and Relief Society Manual. The more I read of Joseph Smith, the more dense and insightful his thinking seems. The list, of course, is mine. Feel free to add your own!
Read more »

10 Comments
Top Ten Quotes from Joseph Smith Not in This Year’s Manual

Nearly all of these come from Joseph Fielding Smiths’ Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so it is possible that some of these quotes are not present in our manual due to historiographical reasons, and I have made no investigation into the validity of these quotes. Others, of course, were not included due to space or subject matter considerations. As with the other list, these are my favorites. Feel free to add your own in the comments. Read more »

18 Comments
False Prophecy: that one time I was wrong

I had the pleasure of attending church with my sister yesterday and she goes to a lovely LDS building in Arlington, Virginia. It really is a beautiful building in a fabulous residential neighborhood, but the facility has one major flaw: a teeny tiny parking lot. Indeed, there were about 25 spaces. I, along with most of the congregation, parked on the street, which I hate to do because I feel it is an incredible nuisance to the surrounding residents, and that can’t be good neighbor-making or missionary work.

I commented on their lack of parking, and my sister told me that when President Benson (before he was a President, natch) had been around, the church had been given the opportunity to buy a neighboring lot (now long occupied) and Benson had dismissed it: the church will never need more parking in DC! Read more »

14 Comments
Our culture is crazy. You know that, right?

I think I’ve finally found the female answer to pr0n. No, it’s not “Playgirl.”

I bet you can’t guess.

Go on. Think.

Read more »

19 Comments
Ward Choir Auditions

There are some people in my ward who are incredibly talented singers. I am not one of them, but I wish I were. Both their musical needs and mine cannot be satisfied without reducing the quality of the choir. And herein lies the dilemma. Read more »

110 Comments
This Came out of Utah

As long as we’re on the topic of Utah and Obama…

A Utah couple created this Obama sock puppet to sell on their website. According to KSL they claim to have plans to make puppets of other figures such as McCain and the leader of Iran. I’m trying to imagine what would make a McCain puppet look like McCain? Perhaps a lopsided neck? Would that be funny or appropriate? But so far they’ve only made the Obama one. They see nothing wrong with this. How about you?

Update:
According to the Salt Lake Tribune the creators of the sock puppet are not LDS. Cold comfort, I suppose.

59 Comments
The Celtics Take It in 6 games.

At the outset of this season’s NBA Finals, none of the experts thought they could do it. But the Celtics wrapped up the NBA Finals tonight in a series that contained some of the most memorable basketball playing in our generation.

I didn’t follow basketball much this season. Based on how poorly the Celtics had done this decade, I really expected the Lakers to wipe the floor with them. I came away with four strong impressions:

  1. Kobe Bryant is not the best player on the planet, though he may be the most overrated man to hold US citizenship.
  2. The Lakers are the worst basketball team in recent memory to play really excellent basketball in (short) spurts
  3. Whenever the Lakers have a halfway decent team, the world goes crazy over how superlative they are.
  4. The Celtics are a much better team than the Lakers this year, outplaying the Lakers even in the games they lost.

This is also a great win for Boston, making it the pre-eminent sports town of the decade.

And I couldn’t happier about the fact that they beat Phil Jackson’s team. Phil Jackson is a man who I find to be perfectly loathsome for a couple of reasons.
Read more »

60 Comments
Guess How Long My Obama Sign Stayed Put!

Would you approve or disapprove of the job President Obama is doing as President?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Please vote prior to continuing.
Read more »

82 Comments
UN Human Rights Council Vindicates Thomas Jefferson

Britain’s Daily Express reports that the UN Human Rights council has identified the British Monarchy as a threat to human rights, saying that the UK must “consider holding a referendum on the desirability or otherwise of a written constitution, preferably republican.” This from a council with members that include Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Sri Lanka.
Read more »

21 Comments
Mystery of the week

Our high priests group lesson today was on the Atonement. Our instructor, a lawyer, asked a question that frankly had the rest of us stumped — or, at least, unwilling to purely speculate.

The question: What qualified Christ to become part of the Godhead while still an unembodied spirit? (Yes, he was the firstborn among God’s spirit children, but why? Was he that much better as an pre-spirit intelligence? If so, why?)

For that matter, what qualified the Holy Ghost to likewise be selected as part of the Godhead while an unembodied spirit?

Thoughts?  ..bruce..

31 Comments
Notable language

I frequently have conversations with women that go something like this:

Me: “So what brings you to _____”

Her: “We’re in dental school…”

Or,

Me: “I don’t think I’ve met you, my name is ______, are you new in the ward?”

Her: “We just moved in…We’re getting a PhD, and then we’ll be moving back to….” Read more »

34 Comments
“I Will Greatly Multiply Thy Sorrow In Childbirth”

We’re quite a fertile bunch here at MM, I think, and with our own impending birth in my family, I too have uteruses on the brain (but definitely not, what with all the aches, pains, nausea, fatigue, any uterus envy). Two completely separate bits of reading I was doing during the same time period jolted me with a new idea:

We are all familiar with God’s parting words to Adam and Eve as they were expelled from the garden. God says to Eve, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.” (Genesis 3: 16) Could it be, I wondered, rather than merely being a curse, that this pain in childbirth was a direct and literal consequence of the physical changes resulting from the Fall?

Read more »

29 Comments
That Loving Feeling

Today is Loving Day—it commemorates the Supreme Court decision that officially made it illegal to discriminate against a proposed marriage based on the race of those involved. For 16 states in the US, it wasn’t until 1967, that they were forced to allow inter-racial marriages.

As a member of an inter-racial marriage, this particular decision holds my attention. I wonder why inter-racial marriages were so problematic. Certainly, both my government and my religion have at times cautioned against them. And frankly, although no one is banned from marrying a member of another race now, there are still plenty of people who have negative feelings about inter-racial couples. Why? Read more »

25 Comments
Questions About Mormonism and the Book of Mormon

Some time ago a friend/acquaintance of mine told me he had an appointment to meet with some Mormon missionaries – but he wasn’t comfortable making the appointment. He said he just wanted a Book of Mormon. So I gave him one.

Some months have passed since then and today he sent me an email that that included the following: Read more »

23 Comments
BCC Reviews the Long-awaited Mountain Meadows Massacre Book

J. Stapley and Brad Kramer have written a detailed review of the upcoming book Massacre at Mountain Meadows. This soon-to-be released book is important, because it’s written by solid Mormon historians, including Richard Turley, who is an Assistant Church Historian for the LDS church.

Anything that Brad and J write in Mormon studies is worth reading, but this review is a must-read.

24 Comments
Keeping Up (or Not) With LDS Blogs and Blogging

I’ve been reforming my RSS reader a bit, trying to get it a little more under control, and consequently the topic of LDS blogs (and which ones I want to read) has been on my mind a little bit lately. Read more »

28 Comments
“Oh My Heck!” — a group screenplay effort

A few months back, I noticed that my own LDS blog was getting hits for “Mormon Anti-Christ”, apparently from people looking for the Mormon concept of a latter-day Anti-Christ. I wrote up a post on the subject, which I then ended with this post-script:

I get the impression from what little research I’ve done that Catholics are much more skeptical [than Evangelists] about the idea of there being a literal, individual, powerful AntiChrist as a precursor to the Savior’s second coming — probably because, as the Catholic Encyclopedia entry cited above states, Protestants have been claiming for centuries that the Pope is the AntiChrist. What makes that so interesting is that in most horror movies about the rise of the AntiChrist — e.g., “The Omen” — it seems that it’s almost always the Catholics who are fighting against him. On the other hand, it seems like there’s often a group of renegade or corrupted Catholic priests and nuns who are supporting and protecting him. So for all us Mormons who complain about media bias, realize that it could be a lot worse — no one’s made a movie that shows the AntiChrist being born in Spanish Fork, attending BYU, and serving an LDS mission, before going to work for the Marriott Corporation, all the while being protected by a 21st century band of Danites. Yet. Hmm…maybe I’ll write a screenplay.

I even have a title for it: “Oh My Heck!”

OK, time to have some fun. Let’s hear some of your ideas for fleshing out this mythical screenplay. ..bruce..

P.S. I don’t have permission to add categories, so I’ll have to let the MM powers-that-be decide how to categorize this one.  ..bfw..

40 Comments
« Earlier Entries Next Page »