Ergo the White Shirt and Conformity

July 23, 2010
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Ergo the White Shirt and Conformity

A lot has been written about the oppressive symbol of the white shirt in the Church. I wish to offer a more positive view of this article of clothing.

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Find heroes

July 22, 2010
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I worked for a time on a project involving heroquests and myth structures.  I analyzed historic, legendary and fictional stories and texts, rituals, narratives and constructs.  I was once asked if I ever knew anyone who was truly heroic. Though I did not know it, I did.  My dad.

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Uplifting Non-LDS Music

July 21, 2010
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I really like music. I like just about every kind of music. I like to choose it according to my mood to help me achieve a goal. Perhaps it is to relax, or maybe inspire me. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a distraction. Sometimes it moves me deeply in a very spiritual way. I really like most LDS hymns and children’s songs precisely because they move me spiritually. Nevertheless, there is a plethora of non-LDS songs that lift me spiritually as well.

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Mormon Therapist on Marital Differences with living the Word of Wisdom

July 21, 2010
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When one spouse does not follow the Word of Wisdom but is not being irresponsible (e.g. drinks alcohol responsibly, drinks coffee or tea), what can parents in such a family say to help children understand and not judge the parent due to teachings they receive at church? Would your advice differ if the spouse is a non-member vs. one who has left the church or chooses not to comply with this aspect of his/her religion? Is it best for parents to be open about this or to keep those things (alcohol, coffee, tea) outside the home? How can husbands and…

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Tackling the Mormon Myth about Alice Cooper

July 20, 2010
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Tackling the Mormon Myth about Alice Cooper

If you’re Mormon, you’ve probably heard the myth that Alice Cooper was a Mormon.  Most of you have probably dismissed the myth as complete hogwash.  Well, it turns out there is an element of truth to the myth.  For example, his father’s middle name is Moroni and his grandfather was an apostle!  Yes it is true! Alice Cooper was born with the name Vincent Damon Furnier in Detroit, Michigan.  His  father was a preacher by the name of Ether Moroni Furnier for The Church of Jesus Christ

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Spiritual Guidance: A GC Talk Review

July 20, 2010
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Spiritual Guidance:  A GC Talk Review

I wanted to try a new feature – going through some of the previous GC talks to discuss some of the ideas put forth.  I decided to start with E. Scott’s talk from the Oct 2009 GC session:  To Acquire Spiritual Guidance.  This was a talk I enjoyed when it was first given, although the last 3rd got a little repetitious on the whole porn thing (Did you notice that porn has now gone mainstream?  New motto:  Porn, it’s not just for Priesthood session anymore.)

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Come to….Sunstone, Come to….Sun….stone.

July 19, 2010
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Come to….Sunstone, Come to….Sun….stone.

The wonderfully splendid Salt Lake Sunstone symposium is upon us, once again. When? August 4-7 Where? Salt Lake City Sheraton What? Lots of thoughtful Mormon goodness, including: A plenary with Mr. Deity himself! Our own AskMormonGirl Joanna Brooks on several panels The Book of Job Our Voices, Our Visions: A mormon women’s literary tour encore performance Glenn Beck: Likely mormon or unlikely mormon? Our own BiV (Cheryl) in a panel entitled: “Seeing as Believing” Our own Stephen Marsh, in a panel entitled: “The stories we tell: How an unpleasant truth can be more inspirational than a pleasant fiction” Our own John Dehlin and Natasha…

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The New Mormon.org

July 19, 2010
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The New Mormon.org

Do you ever visit the church’s website for members (at lds.org)? I must confess, I rarely do. It seems so…austere. And somewhat…inorganic. So, I have to confess that as a result, I rarely (if ever) visited the church’s website for non-members (at mormon.org). I thought it would be much of the same, and I thought I’d have to be a little embarrassed for it. …but just a few days ago, the LDS Newsroom (another church site I rarely check…grr, I’m so bad!) announced that Mormon.org had gotten a facelift. I don’t know about you, but I am in awe. Click…

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Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost

July 17, 2010
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Guest Post by Jared The objective of all who are baptized by water should be to receive the baptism of the Spirit. Otherwise, our baptism is incomplete. Baptism has two parts: baptism by water and baptism by the Spirit. (Please reread these three sentences several times.) The prophet Joseph Smith emphasized the importance of being baptized by both water and the Spirit saying, “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and…

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Date Night: What is your couple sexual style?

July 16, 2010
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I was going to law school. Coming home from a mission in Japan, I was going to get a law degree and take Japanese business CEOs golfing and get paid a ton of money. This fantasy lasted right up until I heard a tape by marital researcher John Gottman. I was captivated at how marital conflict could be studied. I have since been immersed in studying couples and relationships, and have been seeing couples in therapy part-time for about three years, primarily using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). It can be difficult, but is also a privilege to watch. I love…

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Impressions of Martin’s Cove and Other Places

July 16, 2010
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Impressions of Martin’s Cove and Other Places

***Updated with Pictures*** This week, my wife and I took a short road trip while my youngest son was at Boy Scout Camp.  We went into Wyoming and South Dakota, visiting the Mormon Handcart Visitor’s Center, Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Each place was impressive and awe-inspiring.

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Deconstructing Solomon

July 15, 2010
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We tend to remember Solomon as either magically wise or the one who fell from grace with too many wives.  Of his acts of wisdom, most remember only the “split the baby” story.  Of the wives issue, all people remember is “hundreds.” But we rarely think about what the text has to say.

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The Divided Kingdom Today

July 15, 2010
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The Divided Kingdom Today

OT SS Lesson #27 “Take an old piece of clothing,” our SS lesson advises, “or a piece of paper that is cut in the shape of a piece of clothing and tear it into 12 pieces. Explain that toward the end of Solomon’s life, the prophet Ahijah prophesied that Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s 12 superintendents over taxes and labor, would take over much of the Israelite nation. To illustrate this, Ahijah seized the garment from the back of Jeroboam, tore it into 12 pieces, and gave 10 of the pieces to Jeroboam.”  The lesson teaches that the influence of wicked…

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The Mormon Therapist on Appropriate Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

July 14, 2010
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Is anal sex wrong? I asked my husband to do it once because I was curious and he was more than willing to oblige. We’ve done it a couple of times and I have enjoyed it about half the time, depending on my mood. We haven’t done it in a long time, but I was wondering if it was wrong to experiment to such an extent. Same with oral sex: I’ve heard two camps with one saying it’s absolutely wrong and not spiritually uplifting and therefore shouldn’t be done, while others say once you’re married anything is game. That would…

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Strangite Q&A

July 13, 2010
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Strangite Q&A

As I mentioned previously, I really enjoyed the Strangite session of the Mormon History Association meetings a few weeks ago.  Vickie Speek, John Hamer, and Mike Karpowicz gave some fascinating presentations on this little known group.  Following the session, they answered additional questions, and I thought it would be interesting to provide a transcript of the Q&A session.  But before I get into the transcript, I should tell you a brief history of the Strangite Church. James Strang, prophet of the Strangite Church

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Understanding the Atonement

July 13, 2010
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Understanding the Atonement

The atonement is to Christianity what enlightenment is to Buddhism:  the foundational concept.  How do you feel about the atonement?  I admit to some mixed feelings on the concept of atonement.

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Mormon Law: The First Half of 2010

July 12, 2010
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By Jeff Breinholt On the East Coast this past 4th of July weekend, it was hotter than blazes.  In addition, to heat, the arrival of Independence Day means we are halfway through 2010.  In the first six months of this year, how hot is “Mormon Law” – litigation over the role of the LDS Church in society? Mormon Law can be divided into two categories. There are the Mormon vs. non-Mormon controversies (like employment, family law, and intellectual property cases), and cases pitting Mormons against the government (criminal, asylum, and benefits cases, and prisoner lawsuits).  To qualify as a Mormon…

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Lessons from Old Testament Harshness

July 11, 2010
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Lessons from Old Testament Harshness

Deuteronomy 6:10-12 seems incredibly harsh.  As the Lord’s people enter into Canaan, they are given cities that they haven’t built, produce they haven’t grown, and all manner of things they don’t deserve, while the inhabitants of the land are wiped out.  It is as if the only and true path to prosperity is to plunder those who have worked, built and sweated to create.  Indeed, scriptures of that sort have been used to justify that very type of activity.  In context with the next 27 chapters or so, it is an extended metaphor that no matter how we think we…

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The Question Solomon Couldn’t Answer

July 10, 2010
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The Question Solomon Couldn’t Answer

OT SS Lesson #26 Our Sunday School lesson this week attempts to deal with the conundrum with which we are faced when considering that Israel’s King Solomon, who was a paragon of wisdom having received this gift from the Lord, could make the decidedly unwise decision of marrying foreign wives and following them into idolatry.  

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The constraints of agency: Your neighbor and your neighborhood

July 9, 2010
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Albert Bandura defines agency is “the capacity to exercise control over the nature and quality of one’s life.”  We have freedom to make choices, and we are responsible for (the agent of) what we choose. Exactly how responsible are we for our actions? What influences to make decisions? Home life? Community influences? Abuse? Emotionally dismissive parenting? An unfortunate genetic tendency? Are we always (or ever) 100% responsible?

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Cookie Cutter Church Buildings

July 9, 2010
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Cookie Cutter Church Buildings

There was a time that each Church building, Meetinghouse, Stake Center and Temple was a unique structure, and, in many cases, very distinctive.  For a while now, in order to save money, the Church has been using standard plans for its buildings. Caveat alert: Once you get outside of North America, all bets are off on building design. They seem to be more unique, even the newer ones. What’s interesting is that the leveraging of designs has really been going on since the 1950s. Prior to that, each building was designed and built from the ground up.  Looking at the…

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Saw me in prison and came unto me …

July 8, 2010
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The Dallas District Attorney’s office preserved DNA evidence.  When advances in science occurred, they were able to retest many samples in cases where people claimed innocence.  As a result, some men were freed.  Other counties destroyed the same material.  Those men are still in prison. The innocent who are still in jail we can sorrow for.  But what about the guilty?  Should we care about them?  Really?

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Latter-Day Morality

July 8, 2010
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Latter-Day Morality

You may not be aware of this if you grew up Mormon, but the LDS definition of morality is rather different than that which is generally accepted. Morality is very easily defined to Mormons — it means not having sex. That’s all. End of discussion. Immorality means having sex. That’s what we teach our teenagers, and that is the definition we carry with us from our church meetings into our daily lives. Today I’d like to talk about some of the nuances to the word “morality.” The meanings that we don’t get in Mutual or Seminary or Sunday School. For…

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Free Will vs. Determinism…FIGHT!

July 7, 2010
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Free Will vs. Determinism…FIGHT!

One of the most basic and fundamental premises of Mormonism is the idea of free will. While we take this for granted in Mormonism, in the secular world the debate is far from settled. In fact, the debate over determinism vs. libertarianism (not the political philosophy but the metaphysical philosophy) has raged on and on for centuries.

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The Mormon Therapist on Interracial Marriage

July 7, 2010
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Recently I’ve been in contact with a girl by means of the internet. We haven’t met but plan to soon. I like her a lot. She has told me she loves me and wants to start a family with me. She isn’t a member of the church but said she is willing to join it if it means being with me.  I find her attractive, yes -but there are other factors as well. She is from a mixed race (half African, half White American). I know love can put aside all differences but at the same time this would cause…

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Eastern Orthodoxy: Theosis/Deification

July 6, 2010
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Eastern Orthodoxy:  Theosis/Deification

Covenant Theological Seminary is a Presbyterian Seminary.  They have online courses that you can listen to for free!  If you pay tuition, you can get a Master of Divinity Degree online.  I have found the podcasts incredibly interesting. I’ve learned some interesting concepts from class on Ancient and Medieval Church History.  Session #23 discusses Eastern Orthodoxy.  First, let’s have a little background.  The Eastern Orthodox Church officially split with the Catholic Church in 1054.  The Pope excommunicated the Patriarch in Constantinople, so the Patriarch did the same to the Pope.  There had been some different emphasis on theology for quite…

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Ward Cliques

July 6, 2010
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Ward Cliques

Does your ward have cliques?  Are cliques a good or bad thing?

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When the Fourth of July Falls on the Sabbath

July 4, 2010
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When the Fourth of July Falls on the Sabbath

Yesterday’s activities began with a Pancake Breakfast over at the Church, followed by a softball game.  We loaded up several of the kids from the Ward, my children’s friends, and hauled them all to the beach in both of our vans.  Arriving home at 5:00, we joined some neighbors for a potluck and barbecue.  There were even some small fireworks lit out in the field behind our house.  I enjoyed the day very much.  It was a lot like what we’ve done on the Fourth of July in years past — but this was on the third.  As I read…

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Song Practice: Not Music to Our Ears

July 3, 2010
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Song Practice:  Not Music to Our Ears

“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all Song Practice Ladies, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”—Fabricated Quote from Joseph Smith circa 1842.  Today’s guest post is by Matt Workman.

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The Next Victim

July 3, 2010
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This post is by our guest, Leah. He is getting his temple recommend renewed. He has his humble face on. He has paid up his financial obligations to his children. He is going through the outward steps of repentance again, assembling the props he needs to act the perfect husband. But this time it is not for me, it is for her. He is telling her that he wants the white picket fence, the family and a dog. He couldn’t have told her how the most significant times when his abuse became physical were when I was pregnant. I don’t…

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Best and Worst: Bible Verses!

July 2, 2010
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“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you… and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) “Happy shall they be who seize your infants, And dashes them against the rocks!” (Psalms 137: 9) Today’s “Best and Worst” post comes from Steve at Pine Mountain Walker, the originator of the “best and worst” series, with “Best and Worst Bible Verses.” Here is his choice for the #1 verse in the Bible, as well as a fun (and gruesome!) selection of “worst verses.” His comments are…

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