Mormons and marital prenup agreements

I have been in the “naccle since 2003-2004 and I am trying to post on topics that have never been covered. I don’t think I have ever seen a post on this topic before.

What is the consensus on LDS marriages and prenups? I have never heard of an LDS first time (18-30 typical age) temple wedding that has a prenup.  I can see the wisdom in pre-nups for 2nd marriages esp when both parties are well established with heirs galore.   I think this is largely the case with the typical young first time marriage because….

1. Mormons are typically young and have no $$ to protect when they get married
2. Our culture is so pro-marriage that it seems that LDS folks would shy away from establishing a marital exit strategy prior to actually kneeling across a temple alter.

So if you are a LDS divorce attorney or in a temple wedding with a prenup I would like to hear from you.

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Remembering The Past and Predicting The Future

My son recently did a project where he created a solar system using styrofoam balls. It was a lot of fun for him and I learned a lot about the solar system in the process. It reminded me again that the Solar System I learned about as a youth was not the same as it is today (at least not as defined by various Space Scientists like the IAU ).

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See, Obama was born in the US!

In my last post on MM I wrote about how convinced I was that Obama was born in the US. Now that Obama has released his long form birth certificate this issue should go away. However it won’t. People love to believe in conspiracy theories if they cast aspersions on political enemies. In the last 10 years there have been three major US political conspiracy theories based on nothing but lies. They are Trutherism, Trigism (probably the most disgusting of them all), and the Birthers.

Why do people believe conspiracy theories that are so clearly false?

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How Can I Work This into a Deacons’ Quorum Lesson?

Irreverent and potentially unfunny picture follows. Read more »

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A Different Priesthood Question

Radically enough, I believe that Heavenly Father loves his daughters and sons equally.  There is really no question in my mind on that.  I suppose that the vast majority of Mormons would agree (there are always a few outliers).  One of the most important aspects of our faith, I believe, is that we teach that all can have a direct and personal relationship with God.  There is no need to pray through the Pope or hope that others’ prayers will enhance your chances at heaven: you can do it yourself.  Male and female.  With or without knowledge of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.  Even without knowing about or believing in Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father is, indeed, your loving father.

Fantastic.

Except.

There is this other thing we call the Priesthood.  We call it the Power of God.  And only a few of us are granted that Priesthood.  Yet we are taught it is necessary.  Through it, fathers bless their babies.  Mothers just bless their babies by action and the word of prayer.  The sick can be healed with this Priesthood, yet we are also taught that faith heals us and that surely that mother home alone in the blizzard with the feverish child can ask for healing in prayer and without Priesthood and still be heard and answered.  Have not miracles occurred in distant times and places, performed by the power of God, but with no Priesthood line of authority in sight?  It is hard to believe they have not. Read more »

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A new blog

Robert Millett has a blog! I just found it! At the very bottom of the lists on Mormon Archipelago. Guys, I’m trying to be dignified here, but I’m totally jazzed. http://rsc.byu.edu/blog/

Guys. Cool blog. I’m going to go work my way up the list & see what I find. I mean, how did I miss this memo?

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Nobody Don’t Love Nobody (not!)

Stacey BessWhen I was attending college at the University of Utah, I liked to volunteer at the Bennion Center. As a lowly volunteer, I had nothing to do with the name. It was named after my (very distant) cousin Lowell, but it was fun walking around there like I owned the place. The center bore Lowell’s name not because he gave it a lot of money (as is usually the case with Universities) but, refreshingly, because of his great example, though he was of very modest means. While I was there, Lowell himself still volunteered; one of the jobs you could sign up for was driving him around on his visits to the vast array of shut-ins he ministered to.

One the most striking and energizing places to go was the so-called “School with No Name.” Stacey Bess was the “Principal” of this school, founded to teach students who were housed at the homeless shelter in downtown Salt Lake City. Though it originally didn’t even have a proper classroom, by the time I was there it met in one room above the shelter. Aside from the single room and students of all ages, it had little else in common with the one-room schoolhouses of lore.

You can begin to imagine, but only just begin, the challenges she faced in a classroom with no set roster, children of all ages and academic ability, coming from families with crushing economic, mental health, and criminal challenges, and attending her class for a completely unpredictable duration.
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The Book of Mormon musical & Michael Otterson’s twisted view of Mormonism

Michael Otterson, the church’s Head of Public Affairs, published a blog this week in The Washington Post on why he won’t be seeing The Book of Mormon musical. Perhaps some Mormons admire Otterson for his outspoken response, because they mistakenly believe that he’s going out on a limb to defend what he believes. But anyone vaguely familiar with Mormon culture knows that he’s not actually going out on a limb at all. He’s just adopting the singsongy tone of Mormon moralizing that saturates so many of the pathetic discussions that disapproving Mormons carry on with the world around them.

Otterson, of course, is never above making a show of his own moral convictions, and one can’t help but smile when he describes how different he is from other Mormons willing to tolerate the debasement of their religion:

A few members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have seen this musical and blogged about it seem to have gone out of their way to show how they can take it. That’s their choice. There’s always room for different perspectives, and we can all decide what to do with our free time.

But I’m not buying what I’m reading in the reviews. Specifically, I’m not willing to spend $200 for a ticket to be sold the idea that religion moves along oblivious to real-world problems in a kind of blissful naiveté.

As it happens, I saw The Book of Mormon musical on February 26th. Far from “going out of my way to show how I can take it” (as Otterson artlessly and condescendingly phrases it), I just sat on my opinion. I haven’t blogged about it until now. But now that I am blogging about it, let me say that I positively rejoiced in The Book of Mormon musical. The musical was absolutely brilliant and on par with the finest musicals I’ve seen. The songs were amazing. The story was ingenious. The message was profound. The production was first rate. It was an eclectic mix of vulgar South Park jokes, Fiddler on the Roof, the Hill Camorah pageant, Oklahoma, The Lion King, and The Backstreet Boys. It even had a moment that channelled Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. And it is topped off with cameos by Darth Vader, Frodo Baggins, Attila the Hun, Johnny Cochran, Jeffrey Dahmer, dancing Starbucks coffee cups, and Lieutenant Uhura.
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I kind of hate facebook or…..maybe I just can’t get along with anybody.

I’ve been underwhelmed with the social networking craze, except for classmates.com (I enjoy connecting with old classmates and finding out how things turned out for them); I set up a myspace page when Sarah got a little wild after her divorce and boy that was a shocking painful experience. I immediately posted on her page and told her to change her picture and stop all that wild behavior. She did, after a while.

She wanted me to go on facebook, so I did and eventually got a bunch of “friends”—three! that I’d never met or heard of, no clue how that happened. But facebook has gotten to be something I have to do rather than I want to do, well, that happened rather quickly. First my sister got upset because I didn’t post on her wall enough. Then she went ballistic when my niece died and I didn’t call her (she didn’t know my niece; while she is my full biological sister, she was adopted at the age of 2 and so only barely knew the rest of the family); she and her kids posted a bunch of mean things to me on facebook. Read more »

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I want to bear witness that Obama was born in the US

I have pretty much had enough of the birther controversy. Our nation has had 2 of the most difficult years in the post World War 2 era and the press and the Birther nut cases are still focusing on this silly non-issue?

Don’t get me wrong I view the election of Obama as a long term disaster for the nation and hope he loses in 2012 but there is overwhelming evidence that he was born in Hawaii. From Hawaii state officials verifying his birth to announcements in the local papers of his birth the evidence is overwhelming.

For some reason people want to believe political conspiracies if it is used against somebody you politically disagree with. I am reminded of the Truthers who believe that somehow the highest reaches of the US Government were involved in 911.

Enough already. Lets talk about the economy, gas prices, government debt etc.

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Federal Taxes vs the Mormon Flat Tax

Well I finally finished my taxes for the year. I am always a bit surprised when I do them at two things – first how much we pay in aggregate taxes each year (somewhere near 40-50% when you add in federal, state, real estate, sales, excise, etc.) and second, how complicated it is. I use software, but it usually takes several hours to navigate through and in the end my federal return was 39 pages long this year! It also makes me feel very frustrated when all you hear government talk about (at least in the communist Northeast) is how we need to raise the revenue (note they don’t say taxes). They always forget that you can always decrease your costs, but that never seems to enter their minds. So once again, we are looking at more tax increases in the Northeast. While I don’t mind paying my fair share, I do mind paying my share to support things that should be cut or curtailed in this environment. This is where I am surprised, shocked and a bit embarrassed that I agree with the crazy Tea Partiers on an issue… Finally, I really like the Mormon flat tax – 10% from everybody, no deductions, alterations, etc. It is simple, clean and I don’t have to fill out 39 pages to get the answer. Seems we COULD teach the Government a thing or two in this area.

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Mitt Romney: Copycat

I am pretty sure Mitt announced his exploratory committee to ride the coattails of Yeah Samake, LDS candidate for the presidency of Mali.  While I do not intend to support Romney in his contest, I will root for Samake.  Not only does Yeah make for a better name than Mitt, but I would LOVE to see another African country pull itself out of that post-colonial rut of bigmanism.  I will be interested to see how Samake’s religion will affect his campaign, if at all.  In my little neck of Africa, Mormonism is even more suspect than it is here in the US.  I expect it will be the major obstacle to overcome for the Romney campaign, let’s see if  Samake has a similar experience.  Good luck, Samake, but more importantly: good luck Mali.

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Dentists, Dentists Everywhere

In my various wards I have lived in over the last 15 years, I have been struck by the large number of Dental Students or outright Dentists that exist in the Church. In fact, two of my own siblings are in Dentistry as well as two cousins so I am surrounded by them in my family as well. I contrast that with the relative lack of Physicians or Scientists in my part of the LDS world. So I did some quick searching to see if there are more dentists in Mormon heavy states vs other states and how that compares to Physicians. I used a site that had the necessary statistics.

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We need to drill for oil while exploring alternatives

Gas Prices have risen quite a bit recently. Right now here in Texas gas is about $3.65 a gallon. This is simply to expensive. If you look back at recessions one thing you will notice is that there is usually a spike in oil prices prior to the recessionary period.

What are the solutions to this? Lots of people think that moving to alternative forms of energy is the answer. I actually agree with this thinking. However I think its 25-50 years out. There are currently as far as I can tell no realistic cost effective alternatives to oil in the forseeable future. Oil is simply the best fuel we have right now. We need to acknowledge this and move forward with oil while at the same time throwing money and effort into alternatives.

I blame both parties for 40 plus years of restricting oil exploration and drilling in the US which in my view has led to higher prices. But its hard to look past our current President traveling to Brazil and encouraging them to drill in ocean waters all the while restricting drilling in US coastal waters. Most nations when they become aware of large oil deposits ruthlessly exploit them. Even the supposedly enlightened Nordic nations do this.

So what are the answers to our fuel issues?

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Alma and the Power of the Word

There are some insights that can come from the scriptures only if we assume that they are true, written by actual historical figures who bear reliable witness of the events they participated in. Instead of reading the scriptures as if they have something to prove to me (which is all too often my attitude), I need to try reading the scriptures as if I have something to prove to them. As N.T. Wright says, if you read scripture this way,

You will discover that the Bible will not let you down. You will be paying attention to it; you won’t be sitting in judgement over it. But you won’t come with a preconceived notion of what this or that passage has to mean if it is to be true. You will discover that God is speaking new truth through it. I take it as a method in my biblical studies that if I turn a corner and find myself saying, ‘Well, in that case, that verse is wrong’ that I must have turned a wrong corner somewhere. But that does not mean that I impose what I think is right on to that bit of the Bible. It means, instead, that I am forced to live with that text uncomfortably… until suddenly I come round a different corner and that verse makes a lot of sense; sense that I wouldn’t have got if I had insisted on imposing my initial view on it from day one.

So it is, I believe, with the Book of Mormon. And in doing so, we will find all sorts of tiny ways where the text reinforces the truths it is bearing witness of. But this sort of insight seems impossible to discern if we approach the text skeptically, always trying to find out whether it’s true or not. I’m not saying that method is invalid or wrong (and some of that is inevitable), but I do want to suggest that at some point we need to move past it, and that in fact the scriptures themselves are inviting us to wholly embrace them, and it’s only when we do this that they can really start to teach us, provoke greater insights, and really change our lives.

I thought of one example of this that happened with me recently in my scripture study. I hesitate to mention it, because the insight isn’t particularly clever, or perhaps even original. But it meant a lot to me. I post it here not to show off my keen reading skills, because others are much keener than I. I only do it to illustrate this idea about how we can read scriptures differently, even if this example appears meager to others.

The Book of Mormon tells us that Alma the Younger was a uniquely gifted communicator, both before and after his conversion. Mormon tells us that “he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities and … stealing away the hearts of the people.”
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Service or Disservice?

Below is an email that went out to a friend of mine from someone in their ward to the entire ward – I have made some alterations to some information and names have been changed to blind it. This family is apparently fairly normal middle class…

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Friday mish-mash (delayed posting, should have gone on Friday)…Barak’s campaign, Reality TV & Myself

Couple things: Got an email from Barak telling me he’s running again. I liked his last speech very much. Still on the fence. Although leaning against him. Depends on which Republican runs. Won’t vote for Palin or Huntsman. Might vote for Huckabee or Mitt.

I’ve loved those flash mob things I’ve seen on Youtube, etc. so I was looking forward to “Mobbed” with Howie Mandel. I taped it! Now I hate Howie Mandel. He’s a menace to society. What he did to that girl, he should be shot by an Afgani person. It started out kind of cool, this sort of big oaf (although also kind of cute) wants to do a flash mob proposal. All good. THEN this idiot to rival DKL’s aforementioned crazy minister–aka Mandel decides they should A. punk the girl into thinking her boyfriend had cheated on her BEFORE the proposal, creating more drama. Stupid, but kind of cute oaf AGREED! Then Mandel decides they should get married right there. Which might have been okay, BUT the dress was really awful, no flowers, that poor girl sure didn’t get the wedding of her dreams. She behaved with incredible grace and dignity and the love there was tangible, but she had to have wet her pants when she watched the video. Howie Mandel is a meance to society and I’m never watching that show again in protest of his total lack of sensitivity. Read more »

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If We Can’t Burn the Koran, Then Islam Isn’t Worth Spit

On Sunday, March 20th, fundamentalist pastor Terry Jones burned a copy of the Koran after conducting a mock trial that found Islam guilty of crimes against humanity. Right-minded people of every political persuasion responded with round condemnation. Shame on them. Read more »

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The Salt Lake Tribune on Elder Perry

If you’re visiting us from the article about Elder Perry in the Salt Lake Tribune, the story the reporter, Peggy Fletcher Stack, mentions can be found here. I don’t know Elder Perry personally; we have never met, though I have observed him from afar and heard from people who have interacted with him. As I told the reporter, I think the story perfectly captures Elder Perry’s ability to be warm and uplifting, even when offering a correction. A rare gift, but one that Elder Perry is able to do with no apparent effort. Ms. Fletcher-Stack’s article captures his understated yet highly influential qualities well.

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