Dear church leaders, fix this, now.

When I read this article about Elizabeth Smart, I was, as always, impressed with her courage and wisdom. I was also disheartened to learn that she had heard the chewed gum analogy (and I’m willing to bet it was from a seminary or church teacher, or at least a Mormon school teacher). Generally I think we are (finally!) abandoning the chewed gum, licked cupcake, wilted rose object lessons–I can’t recall ever having been taught them and I feel reasonably certain that my daughter will not hear them. That’s why I allow her to attend church!

However, the very first scripture girls are required to study in their Personal Progress work on the value of Virtue is Moroni 9:9, which describes young women as having lost their virtue by being raped. That scripture reference needs to go, NOW. And we need to start explicitly teaching that this scripture reflects a cultural mistake among Book of Mormon peoples in their understanding of virtue, one which fails to properly apply the principle of agency and denies the power of the Atonement. The chastity in which the Lord delights (Jacob 2) is not merely virginity, and cannot be taken away by another person, especially not by violence or abuse.

Take this reference out of the Personal Progress manual. Do it now.

Please.

The Sunday Afternoon Holl and Oaks Session

The Holl and Oaks Session

President Uchtdorf conducting. Sister Stephens praying–no big deal; women pray all the time :)

Girls watching opening prayer

Girls learning to fly.

[Read more…]

The Sunday Morning Pepto-Bismol Explosion Session

Choir in pink (!), Andrew Unsworth at the organ, Wilberg conducting.

First Presidency is sitting down. President Eyring conducting.

Whoa–it’s not just women praying this time, they’re even letting Democrats pray!!!

Crazy dudes out in force on Temple Square.

Crazy dudes out in force on Temple Square.

[Read more…]

Music for Holy Week–Monday

This day is sometimes celebrated as the day of the Anointing at Bethany (although the timing is different in Matthew than in Mark). [See Julie Smith’s excellent treatment of the Markan account.] Bach’s St. Matthew Passion begins with this episode.

[Read more…]

Music for Holy Week–Palm Sunday

Hosanna to the Son of David [Read more…]

An Embarrassment of Riches

This weekend promises lots and lots of geeky Mormon goodness. If you’re in Provo, join the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities for their annual conference, featuring keynote speakers David Loy and Elliot Wolfson, and lots of beloved bloggers from BCC and other (only slightly less loveable) ‘nacle haunts.

Meanwhile, back at the Claremont Graduate School, [Read more…]

Coming Attractions

The Department of Religion at Claremont Graduate University presents “Beyond the Mormon Moment: Directions for Mormon Studies in the New Century”, a conference in honor of the work of Armand L. Mauss. The lineup of speakers looks outstanding–Jana Riess, Claudia & Richard Bushman, Mike McBride (aka Mr. ExponentIICaroline), JI types Paul Reeve and Max Mueller, Molly Bennion, Patrick Mason, Wilfried Decoo and Walter Van Beek.

Go!!

Why I’d Like to Hear a Woman Pray in Conference

It’s because every time I’m on a plane, and the captain’s voice on the intercom is female, I get a little teary. I’ve never wanted to be a pilot, and it really doesn’t make any practical difference whether a man or a woman lands the plane safely. I have no eloquent or reasoned argument to explain my emotion. But it matters. It. Just. Does.

I want my daughter to know girls can fly.

Hodie

…Christus natus est!

Hodie Salvator apparuit:
Hodie in terra canunt Angeli,
laetantur Archangeli
Hodie exsultant justi, dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Alleluia.

Palestrina, Sweelinck, Poulenc, Vaughan Williams, Willan, Whitbourne, Britten (plainchant) [Read more…]

Christmas Eve

The Oxen
–Thomas Hardy
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then. [Read more…]

More Music for Advent

Music for Advent

Sorry I’ve been such a slacker this year. Here’s a nice long piece to make up for a few days, at least. I love Hugo Distler‘s choral music. I wish he had lived long enough to write more, but I also love listening to his Christmas music with its long shadows, too–the light shines in darkness.

Die Weihnachtsgeschichte

Music for Mourning

And this. And this. And this. And Brahms.

Music for Advent

O Radix Jesse

Contemporary(ish) settings by Willan, Miškinis

Text: [Read more…]

Music for Advent III

I heard Chanticleer sing this last night. I can die happy now.

Music for Advent II

Gabriel’s Message

King’s College

Good Shepherd Band

Karen Grignon (I kind of love this, even though it’s a bit of a mess)

Music for Advent

For the first Sunday in Advent–three settings of O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Kodály

Robert Shaw

Choir of Clare College Cambridge (with some rarely sung verses)

From the Archives: Weeping, Singing, Remembering–A November Homily

This is from 2005–an epoch ago, in blog time, so perhaps some of you won’t be bored to tears by it. Wishing you all a wonderful day and season!

Weeping, Singing, Remembering–A November Homily

November is an odd month–hard to say whether it’s the end of autumn, or the beginning of winter. This year I think we’ve even had a few days of spring. It doesn’t fit easily in the American cultural calendar, either–the somewhat belated harvest festival at the end of it seems to be mostly an impediment to full-out marketing of Christmas merchandise beginning right after Halloween and a decorating dilemma: no one can decide whether to stay with the gold and orange-tones of autumn, or go straight to red and green. And then smack in the middle of the month is Veteran’s Day, suggesting red, white and blue accents perhaps. [Read more…]

Mormons in Congress 2012, Part 7

More timely and trenchant analysis from Kay King:

 U.S. House Races in California and American Samoa

One Less Mormon in California

California has more Latter-day Saints than any American state except Utah.  Numerically twice as many Church members live in California than live in Idaho, and Church statistics give the number of California Mormons as nearly 800,000.  Since California is the most populous state in the nation with well over 37 million inhabitants, however, Latter-day Saints make up only about 2% of the state’s population, which makes California about as Mormon as the average for the United States as a whole.

California has 53 House members – the largest of any state; Texas with a distant 30 will have the second largest number next year; New York and Florida will be tied for third with 27; and Illinois will be fifth with 18.

Currently two California congressmen are Church members, and since the early 1950s there have been Mormons in the California congressional delegation.  [Read more…]

Learn to Like (IX)

#10 is here. Read it!

#9 Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.

Finally! An easy one–I like sunsets and sunrises and I adore the sound of rain on the roof. In fact, it occasionally makes me weepy with joy. (Even more occasionally, it makes me want to go outside and dance around naked. Ahem.) Indeed, these all seem so eminently likeable, I can’t imagine anyone needing to learn to like them. I am a bit of a pagan, deep down, under the veneer of Mormonism and the soul-patina of an Anglican chorister, and it’s easier for me to find my way to the Creator through creation than almost any other way. [Read more…]

Testament of Freedom

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.

—Thomas Jefferson, A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774)

Learn to Like (VIII)

George Handley on Lowell Bennion’s 8th Commandment: Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.

Learn to Like (VII)

#7 Learn to like the song of birds, the companionship of dogs.

At the risk of continuing to paint an exceedingly unattractively misanthropic and cranky picture of myself, I must confess that this picture is a lie. I don’t actually like our dog this much. She’s a divorce-guilt dog, and a capitulation to my animal-adoring daughter, who asked literally every day for 5 years if she could pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaase have a dog. To the dog (hopefully not to the daughter!) I’m like the wire mommy in those awful monkey experiments–I provide food, water, and occasional walks, but very little sincere affection or cuddliness. [Read more…]

Learn to Like (VI)

More Lowell Bennion, more George Handley, a little Adam Miller… an embarrassment of riches.

Learn to Like (V)

I have, alas, neither gorgeous prose nor profound insight to offer in my consideration of the 5th of Lowell Bennion’s aphorisms: “Learn to like people even though they may be different… different from you.” So I’m hoping you’ll all learn to like my writing even though it’s different from George’s.

Liking people is hard for me. I love a great many people, but I mostly like to admire them from afar. I’m tempted to prefer the company of books to the company of people, and to selfishly hoard my solitary pleasure in the out of doors instead of sharing nature’s wonders with a friend. Often, this is because I feel shy and inadequate around most people–practically everyone is smarter or prettier or more talented or kinder or richer or more athletic or more __________ (fill in any of a thousand positive attributes) than I am. (Although it has to be said that not all that many people have better shoes ;)). But sometimes–shamefully often, in fact–it’s because learning to like someone requires a particular kind of effort that is less pleasurable for me than, say, the effort of keeping all the characters in War and Peace straight. [Read more…]

Father’s Day Hymn

I hope you all got to sing Hymn #296 today–it’s an absolutely perfect Father’s Day text. Listen here or here (start at 3:35).

1. Our Father, by whose name all fatherhood is known,
Who dost in love proclaim each family thine own,
Bless thou all parents, guarding well,
With constant love as sentinel,
The homes in which thy people dwell. [Read more…]

Learn to Like (III)

George’s third installment is up at Home Waters. Go read and comment there–it’s great!

Learn to Like (II)

The second of George’s meditations on Lowell Bennion’s guide, and my response.

#2 “Learn to like reading, conversation, music”

The underlying principle of Doc’s aphorisms seems to be that it matters a great deal how we spend our time and where our deepest affections lie. This matters not only to our character but to the communities, large and small, of which we are a part. As I suggested in my previous post, this is in part because how we spend our time also tends to determine how we spend our money and resources, that is, how we consume. The activities listed here—reading, engaging in conversation, and listening to or performing music—have in common the fact that they involve communing, even when done in solitude. Moreover, arguably they are not, at least not by definition, pricey or complicated activities. In ideal practice, they are activities in which we connect to a larger community or otherwise broaden our sense of the world. [Read more…]

Learn to Like… A Series on Lowell Bennion’s Desiderata

Reading George Handley’s wonderful tribute to Lowell Bennion, I thought it would be great to spend a little more time with Bennion’s thought. I proposed a series of posts, looking at each line of Bennion’s “learn to like…” guide to life. Here’s George’s first installment (cross-posted at Home Waters).


Lessons from Doc: #1 “Learn to Like What Doesn’t Cost Much”

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6: 6-8).

Price, of course, is not always a reflection of quality, as I have sadly learned in this economy of increasingly poorly made products. We live in an economy that thrives on obsolescence, so durability is arguably at least one reason to buy what may cost more. As I mentioned in my earlier post, Lowell Bennion (“Doc”) used to say that we should evaluate things according to three principles: Is it well made? Is it functional? Is it beautiful? But when he urges us to learn to like what doesn’t cost much, he seems to be underscoring the importance of practicing the principle of self-restraint. [Read more…]

Dialogue Annual Awards

Dialogue is happy to announce its Best of 2011 Awards.

For best Article: Taylor Petrey,“Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology”–Winter
For Fiction: David G. Pace, “American Trinity”–Summer
For Poetry: Anna Taylor Lewis, “Dishes”–Fall, Matt Nagel, “Blessing My Son”–Fall, Paul Swenson, “Marginalia”–Spring
For Personal Voices: Scott Davis, “The Fabulous Jesus: A Heresy of Reconciliation”–Fall
and for “From the Pulpit”: Paul Reeve “That the Glory of God Might be Manifest”–Spring [Read more…]

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