The Untold Story Of Black Mormons: Everybody Should Watch This!

My wife and I just watched the new Documentary from Margaret Young and Darius Gray “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons”. If you want to watch a wonderful documentary that is inspiring, moving, educational and builds your testimony, this is a great one!

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Are “Faithful” Mormons Christian?

Recently on Meridian Magazine, Colleen Harrison published a raw and open-hearted account of how her perceptions of what it means to be a faithful member of the Church actually led her away from Christ and — she believes — led her children away from the Church.  The interesting thing about her description of her former views is, it is a list of activities and responsibilities that, I believe, is shared by probably the majority of active members of the Church: Read more »

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I Support Rumplestiltskin and His New Colleague

My first memories of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are not pleasant. As a child, I always associated their sound with fasting pangs and the headache that inevitably followed. I once explained in another post my theory about Pavlovian phenomena affecting certain aspects of my church worship; this is just another example of that. As a result, for years, one hymn from the shadow of the everlasting hills was enough to split my skull. Hearing nearly four-hundred people singing like buffalos all at the same time is impressive, I suppose; but, so is a stampede (which would also probably have the same effect on my head).
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Earth Hour FAIL

I always listen to Donny

but this might be a problem. Read more »

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Keeping their eyes closed

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the Fall are described as

And they were both anaked, the man and his wife, and were not bashamed.

My children are still there. Read more »

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The Secret Hymnal Guide to Politics

Reasonable people may disagree over which political party Jesus would endorse, and I know the Church generally declares political neutrality, but I’ve discovered some clues among the hymns that provide some much-needed guidance on where we, as Church members, should stand on particular political issues. I will share, that all may be edified. Read more »

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So, how’d that “Big Love” thing work out?

After all the hype and controversy leading up to the “very special” episode of “Big Love”, there has been a resounding, nay deafening silence in the aftermath. I don’t know if the show’s ratings were significantly higher than normal, but news and media converage pretty much vanished completely within 24 hours of the show being aired. And remarkably, the world hasn’t come to an end. In fact, as far as I know, no locust have descended upon the HBO offices in the Time-Warner Building in NYC or upon the Playtone offices, wherever they happen to be.

I think the take-away is not to hyperventilate or overreact. As Nibley famously wrote,

“Even though everyone may discover what goes on in the temple, and many have already revealed it, the important thing is that I do not reveal these things; they must remain sacred to me. I must preserve a zone of sanctity which cannot be violated whether or not anyone else in the room has the remotest idea what the situation really is. for all my covenants are between me and my Heavenly Father, all others being present only as witnesses. . . .No matter what happens, it will, then, always remain secret; only I know exactly the weight and force of the covenants I have made — I and the Lord with whom I have made them — unless I choose to reveal them. If I do not, then they are secret and sacred no matter what others may say or do. Anyone who would reveal these things has not understood them, and therefore that person has not given them away. You cannot reveal what you do not know!” — “Return to the Temple”, Temple and Cosmos (Deseret Book/FARMS, 1992), pp. 64-65

One thing I think we will have to adjust to is now that “Big Love” has broached this subject, I expect to see LDS temple robes and ceremonies appear in other shows and movies as well. The best reaction is to ignore it and move on.  ..bruce..

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Taxing The Taxpayer Funded Bonuses

Today I saw the House is set to vote on taxing AIG bonuses. Here is an excerpt:

“The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money. “We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent,” said Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Rangel said the bill would apply to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others, while excluding community banks and other smaller companies that have received less bailout money. House Democratic leaders unveiled the bill as the head of embattled American International Group Inc., which has received $182 billion in bailout money, testified about $165 million in bonuses paid out in the past week to about 400 employees in its Financial Products unit.”

I must admit I feel a certain sense of happiness about this – hopefully it will pass. For a company to effectively play a large role in destroying the economy which is screwing up many innocent lives, then take government money and subsequently give that money to the bozos that screwed things up in the first place is just plain wrong. Therefore, I find some pleasure in reading this… It is about time that the Government does something about these ridiculous bonuses instead of just wringing their hands over it.
UPDATE: From AP “The vote to tax back most of the bonuses was 328-93. Voting “yes” were 243 Democrats and 85 Republicans. It was opposed by six Democrats and 87 Republicans.”

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Thought Game for our Times

Let’s imagine you are one of the parents in a nice little LDS family.  Three kids (let’s say), no one is pregnant and no one is nursing.

By mutual desire and agreement, the well-educated mother is of the stay-at-home variety and the well-educated father works for someone.  And then doesn’t.  Yup, the father is laid off.  Read more »

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Big Context

When looking at depictions of the temple ceremony we should probably consider the context.  On Sunday Big Love aired scenes depicting ceremonies that faithful Latter-day Saints consider sacred and secret.  I am not aware of a previous depiction of the ceremonies of the temple that isn’t firmly in the genre of anti-Mormon film.  Given that fact, one could classify Big Love as anti-Mormon simply by creating a depiction that only anti-Mormon works have done in the past.
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Things That Turn My Brain Into Oatmeal

While new and improved tech gadgets are exciting, I feel that they are turning my brain into oatmeal. For example, with calculators I no longer have to think to do calculations and get very lazy when doing math. With cell phones, I don’t have to remember anyone’s phone number anymore (including my own). I can remember friends phone numbers from high school, but can’t remember my own cell number. Finally, with the GPS car gizmos, I no longer have to think about how to get to my location but I am told how to do so. This is causing my brain to lose or not develop brain cells I can’t afford to lose. Am I alone in this feeling or am I being a Luddite?

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The Controversial Big Love Episode

The plot lead up
Near the start of the episode, Barb (the 1st wife, who was brought up LDS) receives a visit from her bishop and stake president, and they ask her whether she’s involved in polygamy (Barb’s LDS sister Cindy tipped off Barb’s bishop in the previous episode). Barb confesses her polygamous relationships to them, and they talk about the possibility of a church disciplinary council.

Later, Barb visits her mother and sister, and she begs them to lend her a temple recommend to “take out her endowments,” which doesn’t make any sense at all, because (a) she would have already received her own endowment, and (b) neither of the women she spoke to would have a recommend for a live ordinance to lend her.

Barb’s mother resists the plea to lend Barb her temple recommend, saying that it’s only been a few years since they eliminated the oaths to slit the throat and disembowel anyone who messes with the ceremonies (a few years? Try 19). Barbara chides her mother, insisting she never really bought into that superstition. Finally, Barbara gets on her knees to beg. The scene cuts to another plot line.

What they show in the temple
(Note: What follows does not reveal anything significant about the temple ceremony, but it does relate in detail how the temple ceremony was portrayed on television.)
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5 reasons to really miss newspapers

I know that a lot of people on the right are savoring the demise of the newspaper industry, seeing a reliable bastion of liberal thought go down the tubes.  I happen to feel the opposite way- some of my favorite things I have ever read have been in newspapers, and I’m not sure that the medium of blogging will be as effective in making sure that this level of writing is given the audience it deserves.

Here are 5 reasons why I think I will really miss the demise of the newspaper industry: Read more »

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Best & Worst Presidents

CSPAN just did a poll on the best and worst Presidents of the US by polling a set of historians. The top five were: Lincoln, Washington, FD Roosevelt, T Roosevelt, and Truman. The bottom five were: Buchanan, Johnson, Pierce, Harrison, Harding. GWB was ranked #36.

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Nobody’s got……milk?

Last night as I trudged in from work, worn out and burned out from talking to crazy people from California all night (I cannot overstate this), I fell on the couch and Bill announced, “The dairy has laid off 60 people.”

HUH? Read more »

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Poems Are Made by Fools Like Joyce Kilmer

Joyce Kilmer wrote an insipid little poem about trees: “I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree…”

Mrs. Wilson, my 6th grade teacher, required our entire class to memorize and recite Joyce Kilmer’s poem. The plan was that we would learn the poem by reciting it as a class for several weeks, and then each student would take her turn reciting it in front of the class for a grade. In all, not a bad teaching idea.

I strenuously objected to the requirement that I must repeat the last couplet verbatim. It ran “Poems are made by fools like me/But only God can make a tree.” You see, I wasn’t the type of fool who wrote poetry. Thus, when Mrs. Wilson would lead the class in reciting the poem, I would go along correctly until I reached the last couplet. At that point, I’d say, “Poems are made by fools like Joyce Kilmer,…” and I shouted that name “Joyce Kilmer” in my loudest 6th grade voice, just so that it was clear that I was no poetry-writirg fool.
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The Not-so-bitter Fruits of Apostasy

Most wards recently had the “Beware the Bitter Fruits of Apostasy” lesson in priesthood and relief society. This lesson admonishes us not to criticize church leaders.

I’m tired of hearing this taught at church. The truth is that it’s OK to dislike certain things about the church. It’s OK to disagree with leaders. And it’s OK to say so. To suppose otherwise advances the lie that the LDS church is a cult. This, in turn, advances Satan’s program of undermining the church.
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Church Responds to Big Love Portrayal of Temple

If you subscribe to TV Guide, if you’ve followed this thread on Big Love at BCC, or if you’ve received “boycott Time Warner” email, then you probably know that Big Love will portray elements of the LDS Temple, perhaps including portions of the ceremony. Page 46 of this week’s TV Guide has a blurb on the upcoming, March 15 episode accompanied by a photograph of a scene from that episode (warning: this photo portrays an image that may offend some).

This is, in all likelihood, Tom Hanks’ revenge on the church for promoting Proposition 8, a position that he labeled anti-American at one point, before he issued a well-crafted, PR-saavy apology retraction.

The church’s response is very well put together, and it seems to be written as much for members as non-members.
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Check Out This Week’s Zeitcast

I joined Steve Evans and Ronan for this week’s BCC Zeitcast podcast. The topics were the recent study on porn purchasing in Utah, the Illinois bishop’s email opposing civil unions, and the Niblets.

Click here to listen to this week’s Zeitcast.

Click here to subscribe to the Zeitcast on your iPod.

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Bad Moments in Church PR

A friend of mine who has a PR calling told me this story. Read more »

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