Which is it?

Yesterday Mitch McConnell was on Meet The Press. I record it, but often don’t watch the whole show because it’s beyond my level of intelligence or, to be honest, interest. This was one of those “not all that interesting” days. Which makes me sound brain dead, because it was about the economy and the debt ceiling legislation that’s being debated (ie bare knuckles brawled about) by the president (ie the Democratic Party) and the legislature (ie, the Republican Party). It worries me, thus it does interest me. But it’s so confusing and overwhelming that I prefer not to think about it. I bet I’m not the only one.

But McConnell said something that caught my attention. He said something like “do we tax too little and spend too much?” in a reply to a question David put to him about cooperating with the president on raising the debt ceiling and raising taxes. I thought, “well, we sure don’t tax too little.” Taxes have become such an issue in my and Bill’s budget that I’m definitely interested if they’re going to raise taxes. Read more »

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The Steps, being vs doing, and achieving true spirituality….

I participate in Al-Anon, a twelve step program for people who have friends or relatives who are addicts/alcoholics. The 12 Steps are really a wonderful way of living in harmony with God’s will. I have learned more about faith and surrender from this group (and also AA) than I learn in church. I believe that Mormon meetings focus way too much on all we must do to save ourselves and not enough on “thy will be done.” We then become insecure, anxious human doings whose chief faith is in ourselves. Ultimately and utterly self-defeating. Read more »

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Do you vaccinate your kids? Maybe you should!

We had an earlier discussion on traditional vs alternative medicine. One topic that came up a few times was vaccinations. In addition, I was having a discussion with someone about vaccinations. They were railing on how evil vaccinations are and claimed that they are causing autism and all manner of diseases (kind of the opposite of those who claim certain nutraceuticals cure all manner of disease). When I asked them for data or sources that backed up their claims, they cited some random internet sites that are, to put it nicely, less than credible.

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Oops, I missed the End of the World…

On May 19th, I had the opportunity to have a discussion with one of the May 21st “End of the World” folks while I was waiting for a delayed train in Penn Station in New York City. He was adamant about the end of the world and the massive earthquake that would occur with the lifting up of the righteous. He was deadly serious and very concerned about it. I asked him what he wanted the rest of us to do? He said that we should repent, accept Jesus and be lifted up. I asked if it was that easy? He replied that “yes it was”. I wanted to continue to ask questions, but had to run to my train. I was not expecting the world to end on Saturday, but do I really ever expect the world to “end” in my lifetime? Honestly, it is not something I think about too often. What about you?

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This is Happening: Mormon Bachelor/ette

From time to time, I have heard people discuss the ABC abomination, The Bachelor/ette, and wonder at a hypothetical Mormon Bachelor/ette.  Guess what?  It is happening.  Am I the last to know?  Perhaps.  I only know about it because one of my Facebook friends “liked” a candidate’s audition video.  Yup.  Not only do these battered too-long-a-single Mormon adults have to humble themselves to sell themselves to some other too-long-a-single Mormon adult with odds not too different from a singles ward, but they have to do it on YouTube. Read more »

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Equal Justice

I wanted to touch briefly on the recent arrest of the head of the IMF (DomSK for short) for sexual assault. See the link http://abcnews.go.com/US/dominque-strauss-kahns-accuser-inconsolable-alleged-attack/story?id=13621783

There are lots of elements that can be discussed I wanted to focus on just a couple. Based on what I have seen so far he is guilty. I am not really interested in bloggers pointing out that he is not convicted yet. Yes I know that

1. The BOM teaches us and modern prophets have repeatedly taught that all are alike unto God and that God loves each of his children equally. I fully believe this with all of my heart. I see the child of a poor African (and yes I have lots of exp with poor African children on my mission in Africa) as equal to my own. Both have divine potential and deserve to be treated equally. I see the accuser a recent immigrant and working a menial job as equal in God’s eyes to the head of the IMF. I am frankly deeply outraged by the reaction to the case in France by French social elites. As if a poor immigrant woman of color should just accept that a rich man should have the ability to have sexual contact with her by his very status.

2. DomSK is in deep deep trouble. He might never get out of prison prior to the trial based on the behavior of Roman Polanski and Ira Einhorn who fled the US for France and avoided consequences for crimes they committed. I actually suspect he might die in an American prison. If this goes to trial and gets to a jury. American juries will crush this perp if given the chance based on the publicly available evidence so far. The American court system is based on equal justice. If anything DomSK’s social status is going to be a big problem for him in jury deliberations.

3. DomSK and his American wife are very much at risk in a subsequent civil trial to losing all of their American financial assets. See Simpson OJ for a reference on how this works.

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Our Lips are Sealed

Yesterday, I taught the Missionary Work lesson in Relief Society. I probably could have used twice the time: it was a VERY lively discussion. At the beginning of it, I asked everyone to write down one topic or question about the Church they dread people asking them because they don’t feel like they have an adequate answer. I thought you might be interested to see what made the list (in reverse order of popularity):

• Meaning of baptism
• Tithing
• Where are the plates now?
• Explaining garments
• Our position on grace vs. works
• Our beliefs about suicide
• Church position on gay marriage and related political involvement
• Word of Wisdom
• Why can’t everyone go into the temple?
• Priesthood issues: racial discrimination, women having priesthood, and what is the priesthood?
And the winner with 12 nominations: Read more »

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How Do You Spell Inactive? H-U-N-T-S-M-A-N

In an interview with Time magazine Jon Hunstman Jr, former ambassador to China and governor of Utah dances around the question of his religion:

And as for whether or not Huntsman still belongs to the Church of Latter-day Saints, I know less than I did before I asked him. (“I’m a very spiritual person,” as opposed to a religious one, he says, “and proud of my Mormon roots.” Roots? That makes it sound as if you’re not a member anymore. Are you? “That’s tough to define,” he says. “There are varying degrees. I come from a long line of saloon keepers and proselytizers, and I draw from both sides.”)

This is sure to cause discussion both in and out of the bloggernacle, but this really isn’t news. It has been known for a long time in Utah that Huntsman wasn’t especially active, and there’s no point in pretending to be devout when you’re not, especially after how the GOP treated Mitt Romney last time around. Huntsman makes it clear that he’s interested in running for President so he needs to address the Mormon Question.

He isn’t announcing that he’s resigned his membership, but he’s not in the pews (or even the folding chairs in the gym) every Sunday.

Huntsman is simply trying to come up with a way of expressing to the wider public a concept that we already have a shorthand for: inactive.

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Listen for Yourself, If You Want To

No longer do you (or Brother Otterson) need to blow $200 or more to hear “The Book of Mormon.” NPR (the devil’s own radio network, ask DKL) has the songs available for free listening. Cheapskates can now get in on the action! If you thought the Snoop Supper was offensive, you probably shouldn’t click the link. The first three songs are pretty mild and will lull you into a sense of complacency, but tender ears will find the fourth song pretty shocking.

But given that the musical isn’t technically R-rated you can listen if you’d like, right?

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Mother’s Day Dessert

I always find the various views of Mother’s Day celebrations (or not) in the Church fascinating. There seem to be as many views as there are women. However, if you want some excellent reading from all viewpoints, check out the current issue of Exponent II. I don’t know how many male readers they have, but I love to read the stories and this issue is particularly good. They have assembled a diverse set of very good authors to give their perspectives on mothering and Mother’s Day. Happy reading!

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No Fair….

You know, I’m really bothered at how our church policies are easily subverted in the face of celebrity. Marie Osmond’s remarriage and sealing being a case in point. Sarah was divorced in 2007, remarried in 2009 and sealed to her second husband about 18 months later after the general authorities finally cancelled the sealing. My cancellation took place almost a year after I married Bill; my former husband had remarried two years before that. We’d been divorced almost six years! I’d asked for a cancellation one year after the divorce. My request was tabled for more than six years. Read more »

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Essential to Essentials

I got a new calling to teach Gospel Essentials. I like that class and I think it is important to have it taught well, which I think I can do. I have been teaching those lessons in Relief Society for the last year and a half (and tossing all my notes as I finished each lesson) so I have taught half of the lessons, albeit to a very different audience. Read more »

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Ding Dong! Osama’s Dead…oh wait

I am sure you have been sucked into the news  coverage and FaceBook updates about the report of the death of Osama Bin Laden tonight.  It started just as I should have been going to bed, so I’ll probably cut it short soon, but I am sure we will continue to hear much more about this.

My initial reaction to the news was, frankly, happiness.  It didn’t quite motivate me to join my neighbors outside in singing or even any crowing on the internet, but it certainly seemed like a pleasant development for the evening.  I also hope that those who have been involved in the military actions and intelligence that made this possible feel gratified at this success.  Certainly, if it could bring any peace to family and friends of those killed in the 9/11 attacks or the following wars, that would be great.

But: isn’t it a little sick to be so happy at someone’s death?  We could easily argue, I think, that it was a necessary death, but should followers of Christ actually revel in the death of Osama Bin Laden?

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God has delivered Osama bin Laden into our hands

The good news is that Osama bin Laden in now exactly 1 year away from being eligible to have his temple work done. The bad news is that some fool will probably do it.

For my part, I view the conflict between Osama bin Laden and the USA as a religious conflict. After all, that’s the way Osama bin Laden wanted it defined. Plus, it brings to mind Nephi’s salient (and brilliantly reductive) description of the cosmic conflict between two churches. Nephi writes in 1 Nephi 14:9-11; 15-16:

And it came to pass that [the angel escort to my vision] said unto me: “Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.” And he said unto me: “Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”

And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people….

And it came to pass that I beheld that the wrath of God was poured out upon that great and abominable church, insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth. And as there began to be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations, the angel spake unto me, saying: “Behold, the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots; and behold, thou seest all these things….”

Yesterday, the wrath of God was poured out upon the church of the devil, and He delivered Osama bin Laden into our hands. Let our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Osama bin Laden’s victims and their families.

Let us rejoice for the death of bin Laden. Our children will now grow up in a world free of Osama bin Laden. This is as good a time as any to dance in the streets and hand out candy.

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