“I Believe” We Just Won 9 Tonys

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The Simple, Sweet Things

In a recent sacrament meeting talk in our ward, someone quoted David O. McKay saying, “What you think about when you don’t have to think, shows what you really are.” Over the preceding week, I’d found myself not so much in my thoughts, but in what I’d chosen to do with my time, now that something that was taking all my time had abruptly ended.
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Your Monday Firestorm: Extreme Patriarchy Edition!

I tried to hold out a whole month, out of respect to John C and the voters in his poll, but I just can’t refrain any longer from posting about gender inequality. Like a moth to the flame! I’m back with a vengeance, bringing two appalling examples of the world we women live in. First up, an Orthodox Jewish newspaper photoshopped Hillary Clinton out of the iconic Situation Room photo of the Bin Laden compound raid.
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Nuclear Boy, the Friend, and our international church

This post is a little like this video. It may seem goofy at first, but there is a point I want to take seriously. This is a video that has reportedly been shown on Japanese TV in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, to educate youngsters about radiation danger from Fukushima (you may have seen it in the BCC sidebar a few days ago). I think it’s safe to say that most Americans seeing this animation will have the same reaction I did, in thinking, “Now here’s something that never would have been done quite that way in the U.S.”
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Immigration Lolz

Imagine, if you would, the phrase ‘neener neener neener,’ sung to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus…
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Ken Jennings vs. Watson: Mormon to save humanity? (cue allusions to White Horse Prophecy)

Last night, I gleefully skipped celebration of Valentine’s Day, in favor of sitting rapt in front of the television to watch Jeopardy! mega-winner (and longtime friend of BCC’s Police Beat Roundtable) Ken Jennings go up against IBM’s latest massively parallel Artificial Intelligence engine, Watson.

The Atlantic has dubbed their coverage of the matchup “Liveblogging the robot takeover or humanity’s finest hour,” and it is hard not to read this confrontation in such sweeping, maybe-apocalyptic terms. Especially when there’s a Mormon in the mix!
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Boggs-Doniphan Gentile of the Year Award 2010 – WINNER!

Voting is over, and the 2010 Gentile of the Year is Judge Vaughn Walker!

Judge Vaughn Walker

Judge Vaughn Walker. (Photo credit: Mike Linksvayer for WikiMedia Commons)

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Why Mormon Mothers–Like Chinese Mothers–Are Superior

I grew up in a heavily immigrant neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. My high school was minority White, with most students being 1st or 2nd generation Chinese and Taiwanese, or one of several other Asian nationalities in the mix. So when I saw this piece by Amy Chua in a friend’s Facebook feed, it really caught my eye: “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”.
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Voting: Boggs-Doniphan Gentile of the Year Award 2010

We’re now opening the poll for the Boggs-Doniphan Award for the non-Mormon with the biggest impact on Mormonism in 2010, be it positive (Doniphan) or negative (Boggs). The choices are culled from last month’s nomination thread. Previous winners are Stephen Colbert for making fun of us, and Mike Huckabee for, well, making fun of us.
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‘Shipping Klaine? What Mormons think about Glee

A few weeks ago I finally yielded to the raves of several friends and gave Fox’s hit show Glee a try. Over the past few weeks, my husband and I have raced through all of Season 1 on Netflix. It’s everything my friends said it would be: funny, charming, musical, a bit campy. What struck me immediately was that amid the knowingness and too-smart-to-be-anything-but-cynical vibe that defines everything in our generation, this show stands out as relentlessly cheerful. I searched and scrutinized for the “we’re being so happy ironically angle,” but my search was in vain. This really was earnestly chipper. Je savais what this je ne sais quoi was: it was high-octane Mormon.

That’s right, if BYU-TV thinks they have a patent on happy-go-lucky “see the good in the world,” it’s past time for their lawyers to initiate a barrage of cease and desist letters to Fox headquarters. Yet the litany of reasons why Glee re-runs won’t be syndicated on BYU-TV anytime soon is lengthy and pointed.
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Movie(s) Review: Veggie Tales! Veggie Tales!

They’re a little “loud” for my taste (I prefer a more Mr. Rogersesque vibe in my children’s media), but I have to admit, they’re pretty entertaining and they do a good job of teaching scripture stories.

I haven’t found any material or lessons I find objectionable, and many have surprised me with how much I appreciate the lessons taught. For example, An Easter Carol confronts the evils of consumerism and commercialization of sacred holidays, without going so far into zealotry the other direction that it makes me uncomfortable. Madame Blueberry is a full frontal assault on the idea that material things make us happy, even not-so-subtly sending up Wal-Mart. And Sweetpea Beauty is a perhaps cliche, but still much needed, reminder for girls that beauty on the inside is what matters. [Read more...]

Primary Sharing Time Idea: Repentance

This is a Sharing Time I did this year on the topic of Repentance. (Previous entries in my Primary ideas series are A Chieko Okazaki Sharing Time Lesson and How to Sincerely Enjoy Working in Nursery.)
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Notes from the Worldwide Training Broadcast

Yesterday morning I attended the worldwide training broadcast announcing and distributing the new edition of the General Handbook of Instructions. Below are some notes and thoughts I had from the meeting. For those also in attendance, please add your own highlights in the comments. Everyone can watch an archive of the broadcast (I expect that will be a routine instruction to newly called presidencies for some time).
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Police Beat Roundtable #22 – Halloween Edition!

No Candy Here.

Sorry, kids!

The 22nd installation of our ongoing look at that most charming column of the Daily Universe. Previous installments can be read here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
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Relief Society Broadcast Open Thread

I’m watching from home on BYU-TV this year, with two other moms who for various reasons can’t attend the stake center broadcast. I’m sad to miss it, because the high council always serves a delicious dinner. C’est la vie.

This thread is for discussion of the broadcast for those of us enjoying it this evening.

Thursday Night Theological Poll: Morality according to O’Donnell and Jeter

Republican Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell appeared on Politically Incorrect many years ago, and opined on honesty and the moral imperative to avoid telling lies:
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Interview with BYU student Cary Crall

On Tuesday, BYU’s student newspaper, the Daily Universe, published a letter to the editor from pre-med student Cary Crall about Prop. 8 and the ensuing Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial. Crall noted that many of the arguments that were used during the campaign were never even presented at trial, and those that were presented did not stand up to Judge Walker’s scrutiny. Crall’s letter concludes that, “The real reason [for supporting Prop. 8] is that a man who most of us believe is a prophet of God told us to support the amendment.” His letter has since been removed from the Daily Universe website (the above link is to google cache), with this explanation:
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Bloomberg on Religious Freedom

On October 27, 1838 Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs said that Mormons were not welcome in his state. It was not the first nor last rejection Mormons would experience from their neighbors and government.

We, of all people, should appreciate the beauty and wisdom of another government executive’s words yesterday, offered on behalf of a religious minority group in his jurisdiction who is despised by many.
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Thursday Night Poll: Money-changers on the ward email list

Our ward email list occasionally gets little notices about home-based businesses of various ward members, and other commercial content. What should be done about this? [Read more...]

A Chieko Okazaki Sharing Time Lesson


Continuing with the theme of how awesome I am at my callings, I thought I would share one of the more successful Sharing Time lessons I’ve done in my current calling in the Primary presidency.

The theme for Sharing Time was “Family members have important responsibilities” (last year’s program). I was to do a week on mommies’ responsibilities, a week on daddies’ responsibilities, and a week on kids’ responsibilities to the family. Sis. Okazaki gave a great talk about the Japanese word kigatsuku, which means being aware of one’s surroundings and doing good without being asked, which fits perfectly with kids’ responsibilities in the family.
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Tuesday evening poll: modesty and being tall

As a tall woman whose garments fall about 4″ above the knee (regular, not petite size), am I obligated to wear skirts or shorts that cover the garment well, or that go all the way to the knee?

My thoughts: the church can’t be bothered to manufacture garments to fit too-tall freaks like me (update: see comments #36 and #38), I get that, totally. But, guess what, neither can any commercial clothing company. [Read more...]

How to Sincerely Enjoy Working in Nursery

Welcome to the nursery.

A friend of mine was recently called to be Nursery leader and solicited advice on how to run a successful nursery. (Actually, his question was whether or not I thought it was acceptable to teach the kids Klingon, but that’s another story.) I know this is a calling that many people dread, and may even turn down. It doesn’t have to be that way! Working in nursery can be fun, uplifting and educational, and needn’t lead to insanity. I’m probably too opinionated on this topic, both in number of opinions and how passionately they are held, but I wanted to share the advice I prepared for my friend with a wider audience in hopes of inspiring others with at least a few of my suggestions.

In no particular order, here are my tips for running a happy, nurturing, enjoyable nursery for all involved:
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What if they actually listened to us?

I was captivated when, in October of 2004, Jon Stewart took his media criticism behind enemy lines, telling Paul Begala and be-bowtied Tucker Carlson to “Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America,” to their faces, on their own show. Those on the left, and many who just value intelligent commentary instead of inane partisan bickering, were cheering. There was even more victorious jubilation when it soon became clear that CNN would actually listen to Stewart’s pleas to cut back on the political hackery and theater. In a recent column, Ross Douthat summarizes CNN’s response to Stewart, and the surprising results: [Read more...]

Gender, Authority and Strange Loops

I want to expand on thoughts expressed by commenters in the Sunday PM General Conference Open Thread, specifically, “…Or maybe, if we’re going to talk about how wise mothers are, and what good teachers, and read sentimental poems about grown men longing to hear their mothers’ voices, we could just, y’know, hear their voices….”

The immediate context of this comment was Brother Foster’s talk, “Mother Told Me,” but the point applies to the entire conference, and more broadly to women’s influence in the church. I’d like to delve deeper into an analysis of some details in Brother Foster’s talk. I want to emphasize that this should not be read as a condemnation of the whole talk. It is both much narrower (a quibble with just one particular example he selected), and much bigger (the whole situation of women in the church), than his talk. Also, on some level, this is just a golden opportunity for me to geek out on some of my favorite geeky topics: logic, paradox and feminism.
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“A Peculiar Case”: litigating the semantics of believe vs. know?

Byron W. Brown

Byron W. Brown

This is a story from our family history that I am now understanding with new eyes, thanks to historical context provided by Brad and Daymon’s History of Correlation posts (part 1, part 2).

One of my family’s favorite family history personalities is Byron W. Brown. He spent his early childhood in Kirtland, OH, then emigrated to Utah, then helped shepherd subsequent wagon trains. There are wild stories of his buffalo wrangling adventures and suspense-filled stories of his participation in Utah’s Black Hawk War. One reason we have such copious information about him, compared to others in our family of that time, is that he had ample free time to write while he served out a federal sentence for perjury.
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Marie Osmond, Mormondom’s Princess Di

Like so many other women, who didn’t think they thought much about Princess Di while she was alive, my grief at her death surprised me. Many in the media expressed confusion that average people would care so much about a woman who spent more on cosmetics in a year than many of us earn. A woman who, even before marrying into a royal family, and after divorcing from it, had a life of great privilege. I myself couldn’t understand it. But just as the news from Paris thirteen years ago cut an unexpectedly personal wound in me, so too did today’s news of the death of Marie Osmond’s son.
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Intra-Building Conflict: A Plea for Peace

First, watch this video: (Prose version here.)

I assume that we are in total agreement that this is outrageously inappropriate behavior between brothers in Christ, and in a church. Good. Now watch this video:

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Boggs-Doniphan Award 2009 – WINNER!

Voting is over, and the 2009 Gentile of the Year is Stephen Colbert!

Stephen Colbert

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Awkward Mormon (?) Family Photos

Along with sites such as icanhascheezburger and Cake Wrecks, one of the web’s great mindless time-wasters is Awkward Family Photos. As I was perusing the other day, I noticed a few that I thought just had to be LDS families. It’s a fun little game to speculate, so I thought I would open it up to BCC readers.

Here are several Awkward Family Photos. For each, dear readers, tell us, is this “A Mormon Image”?

Family #1: Pop Your Collar


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My Mother’s Day Talk About Not Being a Mom

As I’ve written about before, children did not come easily to our family. During those struggles, Mother’s Days at church were excruciating. Even after becoming the mother of two, I still struggle with Mother’s Day-–the sense of inadequacy as people wax poetic about their Supermoms, the echoes of painful Mother’s Days past. I’m happy to report that those echos are fading, and each year I better appreciate the beauty of a day when we celebrate the very real sacrifices of the mothers of every one of the 6 billion people on this planet, of mothers of past generations, and our Heavenly Mother.

Still, I have immense empathy for Mother’s Day angst. While (barely) enduring a Mother’s Day Sacrament Meeting during the infertile period, I fantasized about the talk I would have given if I’d been asked, an antidote to the typical Mother’s Day talk.
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