Introducing Orwell

When my wife first met me, she thought I was “too cool for school”… she now thinks that I am “only cool for school.”

30 Posts
Awesomely Awful Modesty Creep Stories Jul. 15th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Two modesty creep anecdotes too awesomely awful not to share:
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Signs of the Times: Church Plans Approved for Non-Cookie Cutter Temple Jun. 16th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

The end of days is upon us. First, the Utes go the Pac-1?. Now, the Church breaks with their current temple mold. Behold:

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I Don’t Understand the Atonement and Neither Do You Jun. 1st, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Dane Laverty over at Times and Seasons recently wrote a post called “Reasoning the Doctrines” in which he says the following: “It makes no sense to me that someone had to suffer infinitely before God could forgive us.”

As we all know, members of the church often pride themselves on knowing “the whole truth,” on having answers to questions that everyone else in the world (allegedly) asks themselves all the time. So, as far as the atonement goes, in the great debate over saved by works vs. saved by grace, in my experience most Mormons see our particular model of [works (i.e. “all you can do”) + Jesus’ grace = forgiveness] as uniquely coherent, as if we are the only ones that have this redemption thing figured out.

So let me just throw it out there: None of this makes sense to me. I don’t understand the atonement and I don’t believe that anyone else does. If you do, here’s your chance to explain it to the rest of us.
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The Book of Mormon: the Musical — And they did gather themselves together to sing, and to dance, and to make themselves merry… Apr. 14th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

It’s like the 116 pages all over again — only this time it’s not translation, but musical attempts to teach doctrine. It was only a matter of time. Behold, suddenly a BYU MDT degree has gained a modicum of practicality:

The long-rumored Broadway writing debut of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone finally has a date: The Book of Mormon, described as a traditional musical comedy with untraditional subject matter, will open in March 2011. Parker and Stone, who earned an Oscar nomination for the musical genius they displayed in the big-screen South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut, are penning the book, music, and lyrics with Robert Lopez, a Tony winner for Avenue Q. (Lopez has said the South Park movie was one of his major influences writing the gloriously perverse puppet show.) Parker will direct with Jason Moore, who earned a Tony nomination for Avenue Q and most recently staged the irreverent Shrek the Musical. The show will be produced by Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino. The cast will be announced at a later date.
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The Hierarchy of Handouts Dec. 31st, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Mosiah 4:

16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just–

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

Some people in Utah think that the area surrounding Temple Square is the panhandling capital of the world. I don’t know if that’s true — I’m not well traveled or well educated enough to say for sure. However, it it’s at least in the top twenty, I submit that Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, would crack the top five.
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Close Encounters with Priestcraft Nov. 29th, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Brother Rock always creeped me out. He was one of those people who you hope never to see again. But you always do… and when you do, they shake your hand and focus a glassy, unblinking gaze directly into your eyes and say, with a meaningful smile, “I knew we would meet again,” as if they had already seen every detail of your encounter in a vision.
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Doctrinal Commentary on Especially for Mormons #4: “Discerning Between the Spirit and Satan” Oct. 31st, 2009 at 3:48 pm

EFM.jpgThe fourth installment in a continuing series in which the author probes the hidden treasures of wisdom in that bastion of seminary education, Especially for Mormons. The previous three issues can be found here: 1, 2, 3. Today’s text: “Discerning Between the Spirit and Satan.”

Doctrinal Commentary on Especially for Mormons is pleased to present this special Halloween guest commentary by Omni J. Edwards, a seminary teacher in Malad, Idaho. His insightful analysis of “Discerning Between the Sprit and Satan” allows us a rare glimpse into the spiritually nourishing instruction that he provides the youth of the church every single day.
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Moronihah and the Battle of Transgressive Pronunciation Sep. 4th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I don’t like to get prescriptive with Book of Mormon name pronunciation. I want to say things the way I’ve always said them, especially when they differ from the official pronunciation guide.

Whenever my wife bristles at my version of Moronihah (that I say like Moroni + hah: Morónihah) or Pacumeni (Pack-oo-mén-knee), I just respond (merely to be obnoxious) that I have more linguistic authority over my pronunciation of Book of Mormon names than any committee. (Though, speaking of said committee, see here for an interesting history of the pronunciation guide.) I’m probably acting out issues of some kind. Oh well. I’m not going to stop.

Others have posted about the pronunciation guide before (huge shout out to Jonathan Green at Times & Seasons, and also Mark Brown at By Common Consent), but what I want, dear readers, is confession. Confess your phonetic heresies here. Let those committee-erected walls come a’tumblin’ down. Confess and be made to feel ridiculous / awesomely devil-may-care, as the case may be.

On the Mormon Controversy Radar: Choffy Aug. 31st, 2009 at 10:37 am

Never one to imbibe potential Mormon controversy with moderation, I bring you Choffy:

CHOFFY is brewed chocolate. It is made from the finest organic cacão beans, roasted and ground for a rich full flavored drink. While it brews like coffee and supplies you with long lasting energy, Choffy promotes whole body wellness without the negative effects found in other drinks. Naturally loaded with antioxidants and a taste that will make you wonder how you ever did without it, Choffy is poised to make a dramatic entrance into your routine.

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The Plaza Mall and the Kingdom of God Aug. 15th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

On my mission, there was an enormous shopping center under construction near one of the chapels where we used to have district / zone meetings. Every day, we passed by and took notice of the fact that there were always only two workers — two guys way up at the top with a wheelbarrow of cement, adding one brick at a time. The parallels to missionary work really pushed the envelope of the obvious, so it quickly became the standard metaphor of choice at our meetings. We used to bear our testimonies (occasionally irreverently) about how building the Kingdom of God was like building the Plaza Shopping Center: two guys, every day, one brick at a time — with no discernible progress from one day (week, month, or even year) to the next.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit my mission and take another look at the Plaza.
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Signs of the Times: Good Parenting in the Face of Peer Pressure from the Worldly Media Aug. 5th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Isn’t it discouraging how, after going to great lengths to instill certain values in your children, it is all undone by peer pressure in the worldly media — that’s right, the age-old myth that “everybody is doing it.” Verily, it is a sign of the times when such iniquity is portrayed as like unto righteousness. Behold:


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Coming out Mormon to the Gays: Avoiding Joseph F. Smith’s Answer Aug. 2nd, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I have been overseas for the past six weeks due to work-related reasons. My wife and daughter did not come with me, so I have been staying as a guest with a professor at the university where I am teaching and doing research. He is educated and sophisticated, has lived extensively abroad, speaks three languages, and follows American sports, politics, and news. He lives in a five-bedroom apartment with his niece, nephew, maid… and boyfriend.

They are very kind, hospitable, and give me a lot of privacy. I am at work a majority of the week anyway, and on weekends they usually spend their time holed up in their rooms with their respective significant others. Still, most mornings and evenings we gather at the table for meals. The professor and his boyfriend are always eager to discuss the United States, their country, the differences between them, etc. The conversation is good and we all get along very well. Here’s the thing: they don’t know I’m Mormon and I’m not sure I want them to find out.
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Doctrinal Commentary on Especially for Mormons #3: “The Duke and His Subject” Jul. 27th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

EFM.jpgThe third installment in a continuing series in which the author probes the hidden treasures of wisdom in that bastion of seminary education, Especially for Mormons. The previous two issues can be found here and here. Today’s text: “The Duke and His Subject.”

Abstract – Two recently discovered manuscripts reveal how translation and copy errors over the centuries have led to erroneous interpretations of this influential text on honoring one’s parents, resulting in widespread apostasy and false doctrine.
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Post-mission Status Symbols: Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Fanny Jul. 6th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

At first glance, I remember thinking to myself that the place was teeming with missionaries. I couldn’t have told you specifically why just then, but the impression was unmistakable. The more I circulated throughout the building I began to zero in on the cause… the illusion only worked its magic from behind.
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A Declaration of Independence… from Church Lesson Manuals Jul. 5th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I had been wondering why all my favorite blogs (including this one) and my email have been dead the last couple of days when it dawned on me that yesterday was July 4. I’ve been out of the country for two weeks (and will continue to be so for another six) so I forgot about it entirely.

Anyway, being out of the U.S. is always interesting when it comes to church — I love to notice what’s the same and what’s not. Unfortunately, over the last ten years or so I’ve spent so much time in the country I am currently visiting that I’m not sure I’m capable of noticing differences anymore; it just all seems normal to me now. However, I was struck with two different thoughts as I fought my usual battle with King Lamoni’s disease (which causes me to fall unto the earth, as if I were dead) at church today. One was about returned missionary status symbols, which I will save for later, and the other concerns Sunday School / Priesthood / Relief Society lessons.

I have heard a lot lately about the importance of teachers sticking to the manual. I understand the reasoning behind such an attitude — after all, you never know what kind of priestcraft / apostasy Brother or Sister so-and-so is capable of disseminating. From an organizational perspective, I would probably institute the same policy myself if I were in charge… still, I just can’t bring myself to like it or follow it.
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Pageant Watch: The Gentile Pageant Jun. 16th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

It’s pageant season again! On the heels of ESO’s excellent rundown on the particulars of attending perhaps the most well known of them all, the Hill Cumorah Pageant, I’d like to turn the spotlight to one of its fledgling younger siblings:

Corinne; The Gentile City

[Don’t ask me why they use a semicolon.]


A comedic pageant featuring some of Corinne’s colorful history

Friday June 26 and Saturday June 27, 2009

Corinne City Park

5 Miles West of Brigham City / I-15 Exit #365

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The Ten Foolish Virgins Go to Sacrament Meeting Jun. 8th, 2009 at 1:07 am

Recently, my family attended church in a relative’s ward in another state. Two families doubling up in the same townhouse can make for cramped quarters when getting ready on Sunday morning; so, it was no surprise to me that we ended up being about five minutes late to sacrament meeting. (Rather, I was surprised we didn’t get there even later.)

Anyway, we arrived to find the chapel full and the overflow partition closed. What, you say? No problem? Just open the partition and set up some chairs? Not so fast…

Their ward had recently instituted a no tolerance policy on tardiness: The overflow partition remains locked; if there is no room left in the chapel, it is the foyer for you.
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Doctrinal Commentary on Especially for Mormons #2: “Men of Determination” Jun. 3rd, 2009 at 2:32 pm

EFM.jpgThe second installment in a continuing series in which the author probes the hidden treasures of wisdom in that bastion of seminary education, Especially for Mormons. The first issue can be found here. Today’s text: “Men of Determination.”

Abstract – A recent study involving DNA analysis has cast a shadow over the traditional Mormon perspective on genetics as propagated by this influential text. Mormon apologists question both the study’s methodology and its interpretation of the word “determination.”

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I Support Rumplestiltskin and His New Colleague Mar. 28th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

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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Doctrinal Commentary on Especially for Mormons #1: “The Wedge of Discouragement” Feb. 15th, 2009 at 9:21 pm

EFM.jpgThe first installment in a continuing series in which the author probes the hidden treasures of wisdom in that bastion of seminary education, Especially for Mormons. Today’s text: “The Wedge of Discouragement.”

Abstract – Sobering signs of the impending apocalypse: When Mormon folklore is imported from China and consumer confidence is so low that even the Devil is forced to liquidate his assets, it is time for all faithful Latter-day Saints to stockpile weapons and pool their food storage in secret compounds in Southeastern Idaho.
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