Things About Which Two Reasonable People Can Disagree

A week or so ago, as the US Federal Government was on the brink of a shutdown, William Howell, a public policy professor at the University of Chicago, discussed how the factions in the US government had become so polarized in an editorial for CNN. He noted the following:

The polarization of the two major parties has consequences for a great deal more than just the contents of legislation. It fosters a broader political environment in which compromise invites ridicule, in which pragmatists are presumed to lack conviction, and in which each political faction is convinced not merely that it is right, but that those who disagree with it are stupid, evil or both.

In my line of work, I am often in the position of having to disagree with what someone is saying. The fact is, I’m paid to disagree with people (who are also being paid to disagree with me). There are at least three kinds of disagreements that I am frequently involved in. [Read more...]

Mormon Merit Badge #2: Mormon Cuisine

As part of BCC’s continuing mission to assist the PTB in the development of new methods and materials designed to improve Gospel consumption, we seek the collective wisdom of the bloggernacle regarding the creation of revamped merit badges and requirements for implementation into a youth program that will better meet the needs of young men, women, or anyone who seeks to do a good turn daily. Your input on the requirements for each new merit badge will be requested, collected, and formalized in due time. Today, we ask each one of you to contribute your knowledge of Mormon Cuisine.

BCC’s Mormon Merit Badge #2: Mormon Cuisine
(Replacing: Cooking)
[Read more...]

Saturday PM General Conference: Since Jimmer’s Not Playing Today, Let’s Watch Conference!

Welcome back to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 181th Annual General Conference, live from Hurricane, Utah! Don’t forget to check out our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter in addition to coverage on the blog. We also encourage you to (if you’re not already doing so) watch Conference live, streaming from LDS.org.

________________

Official Over/Under on mentions of “Jimmer” has been set at 17 for this session. Please place your bets accordingly, brothers and sisters.

——–

Choir in jewel tones, but sounds good anyway.

First Presidency just seated.

Bummer–same tie.

***

BHodges here. Had some problems with the wifi but I’m up and running.
[Read more...]

Saturday AM General Conference:Two-Hour Blocks 4Evar!

And here you thought we wouldn’t do anything special for April Fool’s Day…

Welcome to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 181th Annual General Conference, live from Salt Lake City! BCC will provide near-continuous live commentary, photography, and other goodies throughout the weekend’s activities. Don’t forget to check out our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter in addition to coverage on the blog. We also encourage you to (if you’re not already doing so) watch Conference live, streaming from LDS.org.

————

Good morning BCCers! This is Neylan reporting on the Saturday Morning Session of General Conference.

Okay, enough from me.  The choir ladies are sporting a lovely magenta this morning. [Read more...]

Mormon Merit Badge #1: Membership In the Ward

As is so often the case, BCC has been asked by the PTB to assist in the development of new methods and materials designed to improve Gospel consumption. This time, the PTB have specifically requested that we revamp the Scouting program by creating new merit badges and requirements for implementation into a youth program that will better meet the needs of young men and young women, but also adults seeking to increase the number of good turns they do daily. Your input on the requirements for each new merit badge will be requested, collected, and formalized in due time.

BCC’s Mormon Merit Badge #1: Membership In the Ward
(Replacing: Citizenship in the Community)
[Read more...]

Feasting (Way Too Much) Upon the Word of God

The Interwebs are abuzz with news of some research coming out of Northwestern University’s medical school which, according to lead author Matthew Feinstein, says that youth who exhibit high levels of religiosity tend to become chunkier later in life. In layman’s terms, if you send your kids to early morning seminary, you’re condemning them to a lifetime of obesity.[1]
[Read more...]

Elder Holland on Japan: “These are solemn times; these are sober times.”

In response to the devastating events of the past several days in Japan which have resulted from an initial earthquake, followed by a tsunami and several large-magnitude aftershocks, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles gave a press conference moments ago.
[Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 67: Jonna

In this episode, Scott B. is joined in the virtual studio by Jonna, a pop music singer in Finland and a convert to the LDS Church. Topics include Jonna’s musical career and current projects, her conversion to the Restored Gospel, and its impact on her personal and professional life.


[Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 66: Movies & Mormons

In this episode, Scott B. is joined in the virtual studio by Robert Moncrief, a young LDS film maker in Southern California. Among other topics, they discuss Robert’s current film projects, his experiences as an LDS film student in California during Prop 8, the current state of LDS cinema, and the Mormon cultural aversion to R-rated movies. Also, they talk about the scourge to humanity that is George Lucas.

Links For Your Convenience:
[Read more...]

What on Earth was I thinking?

Last night, while my wife and I were having family prayer, I felt an prompting deep within my soul. I recoiled in terror at the urging, because I knew that obedience would be a horrible mistake–one I’d regret for years to come. I felt the doom in my bones, all the way down to my very soul. And yet, I relented, and a wave of fear and sorrow washed over me as I uttered those fateful words:

“Dear Father, please help us to be humble.”
[Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 65: What the Tribune Didn’t Tell You

In this episode, Scott B. and Matt Page continue the ominous & ghostly themes at BCC this week with a discussion of Bigfoot and UFOs in Mormon Folklore, evil music, a suspicious Culligan man, and all of the details of Matt’s life which–for various reasons–were missing from an article about Matt and his artwork in the Salt Lake Tribune a couple of weeks ago. Actually, they really just make fun of Brad Kramer for half an hour or so.

Links For Your Convenience:
[Read more...]

Monday Mid-President’s Day Poll

In honor of President’s Day, click a button on our poll and explain yourself below!


Justify your claims with YouTube clips, quotes, and scandalous photographs! [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 64: Morris Thurston & The Miller Eccles Study Group

In this two part episode, Scott B. interviews Morris Thurston, a supporter and participants in several areas of Mormon Studies. The interview covers a range of topics, including Thurston’s early experiences in Mormon Studies, later experiences with the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and the history of the Miller Eccles Studies Group, which has been holding monthly lectures and meetings in Southern California for over 30 years.

Part 1: Part 2:

Links for your convenience:
[Read more...]

Pre-Review Survey: Is Parenting Easy and Fun?

Bryan Caplan, an economist, blogger, and owner of the world’s ugliest website, has written a new parenting book (Parenting ideas! From an economist!) called Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.com here, and will be released in mid-April.

I plan on getting a copy and doing a full review later, but before doing so, I am curious to see what the gut reaction of BCC’s readers is to the simple statements found in the title: Parenting is a) less work and b) more fun than conventional wisdom indicates. As a father of two children, I struggled all weekend in trying to decide if I agree or disagree with either statement, and am still not sure of myself. If forced to make an unqualified, un-nitpicky decision, I would probably say that a) is false and b) is true in my experience.

If you have children, are these statements true for your experience? What were your expectations of the hardships and enjoyment of parenting before children? Has your perception of these things changed with time? Do you think that your religiosity affects your perception of how easy/enjoyable parenting is? [Read more...]

BCC & 9 Moons SoCal Bloggersnacker (UPDATE)

UPDATE/REMINDER!

In just under 2 weeks , Tomorrow evening, By Common Consent and 9 Moons will form an unholy union for an evening of munching and mingling. Rusty Clifton and Susan M from 9 Moons will co-host the event with Scott & Cynthia from BCC, with MikeInWeHo serving as chaperone and designated driver throughout the evening.

Can you think of any better way to skip the State of the Union Address?!?
[Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 63: Tuesdays With Berto

In this episode, Scott B. listens in while Aaron Brown tells a story from his mission that probably should have stayed in his mission.

Enjoy!

Links for your convenience:
[Read more...]

Of Shirts, Signals, and Sacraments

Those who bless and pass the sacrament should dress modestly and be well groomed and clean. Clothing or jewelry should not call attention to itself or distract members during the sacrament. Ties and white shirts are recommended because they add to the dignity of the ordinance. However, they should not be required as a mandatory prerequisite for a priesthood holder to participate. Nor should it be required that all be alike in dress and appearance. Bishops should use discretion when giving such guidance to young men, taking into account their financial circumstances and maturity in the Church…

…The passing of the sacrament should be natural and unobtrusive, not rigid or overly formal. Those who pass the sacrament should not be required to assume any special posture or action, such as holding the left hand behind the back. The process of passing the sacrament should not call attention to itself or detract from the purpose of the ordinance. 2010 Church Handbook of Instructions, Handbook 2, Section 20.4.1(emphasis added).

The paragraphs above from the CHI address some of the commonly seen/held-yet-false beliefs/practices concerning the administration of the Sacrament: dress codes, hand positions, stances.[1] [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 62: A Fireside With RJH

Now with pictures!

Our first podcast of 2011 features something we’ve never done before at BCC, and we hope you’ll enjoy it: A Sunday evening fireside.

Following a brief introduction, we turn the time over to Ronan for a fireside he recorded late last fall in London.

Enjoy!
[Read more...]

Huh?

Using the new CHI, one of BCC’s long-time friends recently explained to us all what a “correlated lesson” looks like. Being a person who teaches in both Priesthood and Sunday School classes at least once a month, I’m always looking for ways to raise the correlation coefficient in my lessons. NDBF Gary’s post is tethered to the CHI’s statement that “Church-approved curriculum materials are to be used in classes that are held during the Sunday meeting schedule.
[Read more...]

Comparative Advantage, or, Get Your Hands Off My Former Bishop

Many people assume that Father Adam was the author of the theory of comparative advantage, but this is incorrect; Smith was the driving force behind its predecessor–absolute advantage. It would be another 40 years or so before Torrens and Ricardo would demonstrate that, while Adam was a prophet, he was not infallible.
[Read more...]

You Make the Call: Confession of Past Discretions

The following question is posed by an anonymous BCC reader:

You’re the bishop. A 45 year-old member of the church presents himself in your office. He has only recently become active in the church. He stopped attending shortly after he was ordained a priest nearly 30 years ago. He is married with a wife and 3 kids, ages 8, 10, and 12. The wife is not a member, but she is interested in the church, and on her prompting, the family is starting to attend. [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 61: MoTab Has Its Moments

In this episode, Scott B. listens in while Kristine Haglund and Nicholas S, aka Latter-day Guy, get their musical geek on. First, Nicholas and Kristine share some highlights and lowlights of their LDS music experiences. Later, the group discusses ways to improve music in LDS settings and opine on their favorite and most hated LDS songs.

Links for your convenience:
[Read more...]

Monday Mid-Day Answering the Allegations Set Before Us Poll

Yesterday, in a heated comment thread, a reader made the following statement:

Bycommonconsent.com used to be a blog that actually [had] interesting and meaningful content, since so many others have jumped the shark. Not anymore. Now it’s a [race] to the bottom between this and feministmormonhousewives.com.

Being a relative newcomer to these parts, this sort of comment–and they do appear from time to time–always make me curious: How do readers here view the path that BCC has taken? Has BCC become more thoughtful? Less so? More political? More Liberal? More Conservative? Stayed basically the same? Here is your big chance to weigh in on these extraordinarily important questions.

Please vote below, and add clarification below. [UPDATED POLL QUESTION]
[Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 60: The Cyber Elders

And now for something completely different!

In this episode, Scott B. interviews the Cyber Elders–a pair of missionaries who have been called to serve in an experimental mission devoted solely to online missionary work. And no, we are not making this up. [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 59: Camping & Hiking

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a podcast that has nothing to do with Thanksgiving!

In this episode, Scott B. and Sunny Smart talk about that greatest of Mormon pastimes: Camping. First, Sunny recounts her experience as an employee in a wilderness youth treatment program. Then, Scott describes his campfire FAIL (a moving tale about a boy, a match, and some gasoline). Finally, Sunny gives a stern warning to all young women who have considered hiking as a hobby. [Read more...]

Connection Through Disconnection

In my ongoing effort to suck all the fun out of find greater satisfaction and connection from lived Mormonism (Step 1 was axing all pointless debates about immovable rocks), I began an experiment 4 weeks ago designed to force myself into higher levels of sociability and participation during Sunday meetings.

I left my iPhone home.
[Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 58: Female Ritual Healing In Mormonism

The BCC Zeitcast returns with a brand new season!

In this two-part episode, Scott B. and J. Stapley discuss the long-promised and oft-cited paper on Female Ritual Healing which Stapley and BCC Emeritus Kris Wright co-authored, and which will be published in the Winter 2011 Journal of Mormon History, due out this January. [Read more...]

MicroMormon vs. MacroMormon

I am an economist, both by educational background and by profession. However, when people ask about my work or education, I have found that referring to myself simply as “an economist” results in almost universal confusion. This confusion manifests itself in the typical responses, most of which are variations on “So, you look at the economy and stuff?” At this juncture, I generally explain that I am not “that kind of economist”—I am not a macroeconomist. Rather, I am a microeconomist. A common misconception is that most economists care about GDP, unemployment rates, and monetary inflation–topics studied by macroeconomists. The truth is, most of us economists not only don’t care about those sorts of things, we actually dislike them and actively seek to forget everything we learned about them in grad school.[1] [Read more...]

Thursday Morning Quickie #20

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the M Men-Gleaner Manual, "Love, Marriage, and You" used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 9

Becoming Well Acquainted

ABOUT a year ago a young man, age twenty, met a girl in Salt Lake City at a church social. He danced with her twice that evening and then made a date for the next afternoon. They went out together every evening for the next five days. At the end of that time they both thought they were madly in love and agreed to get married, which they did. [Read more...]

Anger

This morning, I got angry.

One of my most painful memories, one about which I continue to be embarrassed even now, twenty years later, is of my behavior during a two-game little league baseball championship, in which my team, having never lost a game all year, was beaten twice by a team we had clobbered time and again during the season.

I played catcher, and consequently was involved in nearly every play–or at least close enough that my growing anger and frustration were visible to everyone with each additional run the other team scored. I slammed my mitt on the ground. I threw the bat after striking out. I kicked the dirt and argued with the umpire. I yelled and screamed at everyone–my coach, my teammates, the woman keeping score, and eventually, after my coach sat me on the bench to cool down, at myself. I was one of the best players on my team, but because of my rage, I was unable to help–not even able to participate–during the final two innings of the championship.

After the game was over, and we had lost, I refused to accept my gift certificate for a free shake at the local burger joint, opting instead to glare bitterly at the shiny cases containing the small gold medals which were being handed out to the winning team’s players. I wanted one of those medals.

[Read more...]

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