Happy Hallowe’en, Losers!

Tis the season for a teeth-rotting, diabetes-inducing candyfest. But life isn’t just about hot apple cider and peanut M&Ms — no, it’s also about lots of crappy candy, the dregs of the pillowcase that you will eat with derision in November when you run out of anything good in the pantry. We’re overdue for a poll, people. [Read more…]

The Church Responds to HRC Petition

The Church has just issued an official response to the petition offered by the Human Rights Campaign. Article from the HRC here; full article available from the LDS Newsroom here. Text of the official response below:

My name is Michael Otterson. I am here representing the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address the matter of the petition presented today by the Human Rights Campaign.

While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty, or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation, or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society. [Read more…]

Shaking the hand of Brother Martin

Warren Martin was in his 70s and had the long-standing calling of handing out the ward bulletin each week. His longish gray hair curled like ramen noodles and his tie, invariably a Looney Tunes tie or a Disney themed tie, was in a standard knot around the collar of his denim shirt. Brother Martin wasn’t homeless; he lived in a group home downtown for disadvantaged folks. He had few possessions, but his shirt pocket was usually stuffed full of bus schedules. He was fairly tall, with a broad paunch and red cheeks. He was also relentless in the performance of his duties. [Read more…]

General Conference: Teh Contest

We already know how you’re going to follow General Conference this year: by following our open thread and our Twitter feed. We also strongly suspect that most of you lot will be watching in your pajamas, sitting in a hammock. Now you can show us, and win. [Read more…]

Donating to a good cause will make you feel good.

Just really quickly, because posts like this make some people feel awkward: multiple sclerosis is terrible. Like last year, I’m doing a charity bike ride to raise funds to fight MS, and I welcome your donations. I promised a bunch of stuff to donors last year, and I repeat those promises now (and if I didn’t follow through with any of you last year, let me know and I’ll make amends). So, give some money if you can – here’s the link. It will make you feel quite a bit better about yourself.

Top 5 Mormons We Love To Hate

The news is out: everybody hates us. Those of us with healthy persecution complexes anticipated this day and even looked forward to it as evidence of our righteousness. But guess what, Mormons — some of you are ESPECIALLY hated, loathed and reviled, thereby showing yourselves to be even more righteousy than the rest of us. So, congrats O scorned ones, you are probably top of the heap in heaven already. Without further ado, here’s the A-list, the creme de la creme, the (currently living) Mormons that get more hatin’ than all the rest. [Read more…]

The Future of Mormons on the Internet

I posted this article as part of the truly amazing series at Patheos, but thought it might generate some discussion here as well. I encourage everyone to check out the other articles in the series.


Recently I read an article predicting a blossoming future for blogging, heralding this method of self-publishing as the future of
content distribution. The article in question was published in 2005. Things have changed in five years. Most recent trending data and polls agree that blogging is on the decline overall, with some demographics showing their interest in blogs cut by half. For lack of a better term, blogging is a dying technology. Blogs were faddish in 2005, but are now dying on the vine. Young people — the trendsetters for internet content production and distribution — have largely eschewed blogs as a medium. There was no Mormon blogging in 2000, and there probably won’t be any in 2020 for that matter.

I am no Jeremiah, come to fortell the doom of the Bloggernacle. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. But if we are to consider the question of the future of the Bloggernacle, I believe we need to engage in two tasks as a prerequisite: first, we must understand why the community of LDS blogs exists, and second, we must understand the evolutionary pathways of new media and gain a sense of which way the river is flowing. [Read more…]

Just a little black raincloud

More and more I find myself drawn to the great thinkers. My children have recently reminded me of the wonders of A.A. Milne, and so I would like to share some of my recent readings with you. [Read more…]

Contest: Starting a New Dialogue

Readers of Dialogue know how indispensable it is. Dialogue represents the best of independent Mormon thought available today. The product of a rich spiritual and intellectual heritage, today’s Dialogue is an immensely valuable tool in promoting interesting conversations and in fostering a thoughtful LDS community. I firmly believe that without Dialogue, sites like BCC would probably not exist today. And now, with some elbow grease on your part, you can win a subscription for yourself. [Read more…]

Book Review: Dispensation

Angela Hallstrom’s recent compilation of LDS fiction is an impressive undertaking, bringing together 28 stories from the greatest contemporary authors our faith has to offer. And while some might quibble with a few of the authorial choices, and others might find some of the themes or language too much for their taste, there’s no question that Dispensation represents an immensely valuable compilation. While it cannot help but live in the shadow of Eugene England’s landmark anthology, Bright Angels and Familiars, Hallstrom’s work deserves its own recognition and belongs in the library of anyone with an interest in our culture. [Read more…]

Police Beat Roundtable XXI

The XXIieth 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, and here, here and here.

This week: Eric Russell demonstrates how funny Marines can be. Also, Ken Jennings and GST do their schtick.

Two 16-year-olds are under investigation for illicit sexual conduct. They were found in the Caroline Hemenway Harman Continuing Education Building by two custodians.

GST: That’s what you get when you name a building after a woman. They haven’t done it since. [Read more…]

I Could Not Do It

Between March 28 and 30 of this year, nine people were arrested in Michigan Indiana and Ohio for plotting to kill several law enforcement officers. The Hutaree group’s objective, apparently, was to help usher in the Apocalypse by performing mass killings of government officers and other law enforcement persons at the funerals of the targeted policemen. The group is a fundamentalist Christian militia group with the slogan, “”Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.” They view themselves as completely devoted to Christ and engaging in the sacrifice of their own lives to keep the testimony of Christ alive during the End Times. [Read more…]

April Fools!

We couldn’t think of anything funny to do today*.

Yes, we jumped it.

*Correction: we did one little thing. See if you can find it.

Conference is coming!

Spring is in the air, the snows are melting, and General Conference is this weekend. As a heads-up to our readers — we will be continuing our tradition of live Conference coverage, with open threads here at BCC as well as live Twitter coverage here. Additionally, we will be photoblogging conference and providing some special features throughout the weekend. Please let us know if there are any special events you’d like us to cover. BCC permas will be on hand outside the Conference Center to sign autographs.

Also, I heard that this weekend they’re totally going to announce the formal transition to a two-hour block. No, seriously! My sister-in-law’s former roommate married the grandson of a GA and that’s all they talk about these days…

Seeking Wisdom

An announcement and request from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Who is wise?

Maybe your mom, who seemed to know exactly what to say to teenage traumas. Perhaps your pastor, who inspired you to improve your life. Maybe even a president, who guided a nation through war or peace.
We want your thoughts about wisdom, a quality that stretches beyond knowledge to include insight, sound judgment and more.

But what exactly is wisdom? Who has it? And what makes a person wise?

Just e-mail your thoughts and nominate people you see as wise — both the famous and not-so-famous — to faith@sltrib.com.

Lenten Mormonism

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! I hope you are enjoying this last gasp of hedonism, because tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first of 46 days of Lent. Tomorrow the parish priest will put sacramental ash on your forehead in the form of the cross, and speak those words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Then begins your period of repenting — literally, in dust and ashes — before the great Easter morn arrives. Prepare yourselves, pilgrims!

What — Mormons don’t do this? Well, maybe we should. [Read more…]

Police Beat Roundtable XX

The XXieth 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, and here, and here.

This week: GST, SB2, KJ, AG and SE duke it out.

On Saturday an unexpected skydiver landed in the north end zone bleachers during the Stadium of Fire and caused considerable damage to the metal bench. A 19-year old visitor sustained the brunt of the impact. The victim complained of sore arms and legs.

Adam: Told you you shouldn’t have ditched the MTC, Elder. [Read more…]

Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes!?

Taught the first part of Lesson 4 yesterday — I say the “first part,” because we had 10 minutes of class time (thanks, Ward Conference!), and this lesson is important enough to bump Lesson 5 forward. See here for an example of how class is supposed to be done. So, in our ten minutes, I covered the Council in Heaven, Satan’s fall and the serpent. Next week we’ll do the Fall and the redemption (if Aaron Brown shows up). At one point, we read Moses 4:5-6:

And now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which I, the Lord God, had made. And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world.

There’s a lot to unpack in those verses, and we didn’t try in our time to talk about why Eve, or why Satan would not know the mind of God, etc. Best leave that for next week. Instead, I asked: “was there really a snake?” [Read more…]

Dream Job

The job opportunity below has come to our attention — it sounds like an amazing opportunity for those with the right background.

Historian/Documentary Editor, Joseph Smith Papers Project-0900581

Application Process: http://www.lds.org/emp/new/home.html


The Joseph Smith Papers Project is engaged in producing a comprehensive edition of Joseph Smith documents featuring complete and accurate transcripts with both textual and contextual annotation. The scope of the project includes Joseph Smith’s original correspondence, revelations, journals, historical writings, sermons, legal papers, and other documents. Besides providing the most comprehensive record of early Latter-day Saint history they will also provide insight into the broader religious landscape of the early American republic. The Joseph Smith Papers Project is ready to hire a historian/documentary editor with the appropriate academic training, research and writing skills to edit Joseph Smith’s papers. [Read more…]

Name my resolution

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I don’t believe much in New Year’s resolutions, but if you guys can arrive at a consensus for what resolution I should make and keep in the new year, I’ll do it. The way I see it, I know myself worse than the rest of you.

Suggestions, to get the ball rolling:

1. Learn to juggle
2. Stop being so darned sexy
3. Be more curt to trollish commenters.

Failing that, what are your resolutions? What does Mormon culture have to say about New Years’ Resolutions? Is the practice of a ‘resolution’ consistent with the general approach of seeking a Christlike life?

Police Beat Roundtable #19

The nineteenth 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, and here.

This week: an Advent treasure for you all, as we are joined (at various moments) by GST, Matt Page, “Brunhilde”, Ken Jennings, and Aaron Brown. Ronan also joined us, but his profane comments were all left on the cutting room floor (foreshadowing, perhaps, the fate of England in Group C).

From a window in Chipman Hall, a male student exposed his buttock to two University police officers who were in the area on foot patrol Nov. 30 at 11:22 p.m. A female student who witnessed the incident identified the suspect and a $300 citation was given.

Brunhilde: Which buttock? [Read more…]

Egg ethics II

Suppose a couple, having problems with fertility, decides to try IVF as a means of having children. For the sake of the hypothetical, let’s say initial fertilization goes very well and the couple ends up with 30 viable embryos. After 8 pregnancies with three embryos implanted each time, the couple is exhausted and now has 24 children. They are done having kids.

What does the couple do with the six remaining embryos? You make the call. [Read more…]

Tesserae of My Faith

I had the honor of presenting during the Pillars of My Faith segment at Sunstone Northwest on Sunday. Below are my rough notes. Thanks to Mary Ellen Robertson and Molly Bennion for putting on a great symposium for a good community.

What are the pillars of my faith? My Mormonism is a community of Saints, a Zion of individual souls that come together to worship God and be saved through Christ. As such my fundamental image of faith is the mosaic, the wonderful art of forming a picture composed of countless individual tiles. I have in my mind the picture of God, the master Artist, placing each of us uniquely within his plan, cementing us together, ultimately forming a masterpiece. [Read more…]

Lest We Forget


Happy Remembrance Day, all.

[Read more…]

Leaving a note

If you found out that you were going to die soon, what sort of note would you leave behind? Who would it be addressed to? [Read more…]

Interview with Elna Baker

If you aren’t already familiar with the writing and performing of Elna Baker, prepare yourself for awesomeness. Baker is a comedian and storyteller living in New York. She is the author of a new memoir, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, describing her life as a single adult (a review will be coming later this week). She has written for The Onion and many other publications, and has been featured on This American Life and Upright Citizens Brigade. It is very possible that Baker is the best working comedienne and author in all Mormondom. We asked her some questions in connection with her new book. [Read more…]

Elder Choi: I Love Loud Boys

The noisy sturm about Elder Holland notwithstanding, I believe Elder Yoon Hwan Choi gave the sleeper hit talk of this past General Conference. His address was a simple narrative of personal revelation and how Christ can enter the lives of our youth. More than this, it was an example of how we as lay clergy ought to approach our sermons. I’d like to look at his sermon, both in terms of its message and its form. I’m not doing any deep textual analysis, just taking an informal look at Choi’s story, his lessons and his structure. [Read more…]

What I’d like for General Conference this year

As a lover of all things gossip, I adore speculation about what might be announced in General Conference, what the big themes will be, etc. — especially when it comes to a new apostle, a new initiative or program, or a name change.

This session, however, I’m looking for something more simple: a time of refreshing. I want to feel the Spirit strongly and be reaffirmed in my testimony of this work, and leave Conference with a little more spring in my step.

What are you hoping for this time? And how can we at BCC cover Conference more effectively and meaningfully for you? Remember that we’ll have an open thread, as well as live coverage on twitter (@bycommonconsent).

Police Beat Roundtable #18

The eighteenth 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, and here.

Today we’re joined by GST, Ken Jennings and a mysterious female BYU alumna who we shall call “Brunhilde.”

March 8: An individual reported money and medication stolen from a backpack during Dancesport. The individual had left the backpack unattended containing $10 and a prescription of Lortab. Upon return, the items were missing.

Brunhilde: Dancesport participants definitely need their meds. [Read more…]

Cause me pain! Please!

WAS_logoJust a brief post to shill for some charity pledges: this weekend I’ll be participating in the local Bike MS Ride, a charity ride to benefit the National MS Society. If you’re not familiar with the effects of multiple sclerosis, ask around; odds are that a family member, friend or colleague is familiar with the sudden disorientation, blurred vision or debilitating pain that accompanies this horrible disease. Nobody is sure what triggers it, and there is no cure.

So, I’ll gladly take on a little pain myself for a good cause: 92 miles on Saturday, 68 on Sunday. Easy-peasy for a sleek biking machine such as myself. But let me provide more incentive. I will send each of my sponsors over $25 a handwritten thank-you card, as well as a “get-out-of-admin-jail-free” card good for one truly trollish comment at BCC (think it over, aloysius!). Sponsors who pledge over $100 get the cards, a guest post on BCC, and I will wear a large sign on my jersey that says “I heart [your name here, moneybags]”. Sponsors who pledge $250 or more get all of the above plus a slowdance mixtape and a signed photo of my wife Eddy Merckx [signed by me].

Here is the link to pledge. Think of it this way — you’re obligated to give 10% and you got nothin’ to show for it. Donate a little for this charity and you will have instant fame and glory.


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