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...]
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...]
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...]
We couldn’t think of anything funny to do today*.
*Correction: we did one little thing. See if you can find it.
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…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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?
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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).
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...]
Just 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.
The Bloggernacle is no stranger to controversy. One of the recurring trends, at least at BCC, is to tackle a tricky topic head-on, to deal with concerns in an open and honest way. This has some real benefits – often we see some positive apologetics, some heartfelt testimonies and some clarifications of long-held misconceptions. When you engage in this often enough over time, there’s a sense of community that develops. These commenters and bloggers become your friends. With increased frequency we read emails and see comments expressing thanks for a discussion and this community. Occasionally people say things like, “thanks — I could never have this kind of frank, open discussion with the people in my ward,” or “finally someone out there understands me!”
As flattering as such comments are, I have to admit they also make me feel a little uncomfortable. [Read more...]
The LDS Public Affairs team is now keeping an LDS Newsroom Blog, which is a very interesting step. Comments on it are closed, but it sounds like an effort to provide additional context and commentary to running news events and press releases. Sort of a director’s commentary track on a DVD, if you will. In my view this is an immensely positive thing for the Church to be doing; it helps to show a human quality to their public affairs efforts, and should make for some fascinating reading.
A friend finds you at Church, and pulls you into a quiet hallway. His eyes are red, wet with tears. He recently lost his spouse. Now he tries to make sense of the tragedy and looks to you as a confidant and advisor. “How,” he asks, “could this happen to me? How could God do this to me?”
How do you reply? [Read more...]
We’ve talked about this before, and yes it’s not a serious or researched topic, but –
The Bloggernacle is a little community. We’re not an e-ward (yet!), but certainly we have a sense of each others’ personalities and proclivities. So if you’re setting up a Bloggernacle ward, who gets what calling? [Read more...]
In honor of PBR being nominated to win Niblets in all categories (vote!), we present:
The Seventeenth 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, and here.
This week, we are joined by a philosopher (Jim Faulconer) and a economist (Scott B.), and a special surprise guest!
June 13: In lot 26, a Yamaha Zuma scooter was stolen from the parking area. The victim left his scooter parked over night. Later, an officer saw a scooter matching the description of the missing scooter parked in lot 16. There was no evidence that the scooter was tampered with and police suspect that the owner probably forgot where he parked.
Jim F.: Must have belonged to one of the philosophy department profs who frequently forgets things like where he parked. [Read more...]
Michael Otterson is managing director of Public Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; as such he heads the public affairs activities of the Church worldwide. He graciously agreed to be interviewed for BCC.
BCC: The LDS Public Affairs Department is a crucial arm of the Church, as it bears the bulk of the responsibility for the interface between the church and the media. I’m curious about the day-to-day operations and mechanics of the department. How many people do you work with? Does the Church regularly engage outside PR firms?
Otterson: A few dozen staff work at Church headquarters and in addition we have 13 offices throughout the world that work as part of the support staff for Area Presidencies. We also contract outside counsel from a public relations firm to help handle periods of overload. There is always plenty of work to do. During the past several years interest in the Church has continually increased. That includes the news media but it is by no means confined to that. We are not just waiting for the phone to ring. We are also engaged in proactively building relationships and understanding with those who share our point of view, and with those who don’t. [Read more...]
It is June, and with it the season of barbecue is upon us. How to combine BCC’s two great loves: lording our elitism over others, and BBQ? Why, by hosting a barbecue contest. Read on, weaklings. [Read more...]
M. Night Shyamalan is a frustrating director. Most people believe that he has not made a good movie in some time; more jaded cynics argue that he only made two good movies: The Sixth Sense and the vastly underrated Unbreakable. I, too, am a jaded cynic; I find The Village to be visually interesting and technically well-executed, but otherwise failed, and The Lady In The Water is nearly unwatchable. You’ll note that I say nothing of The Happening. I am crossing my fingers that he does not screw up The Last Airbender. Still I’d like to entertain the case that Shyamalan made a third movie worth viewing and re-viewing: Signs. More particularly, Signs is worth us watching and re-watching as Mormons. It is ostensibly a tale of faith set against the backdrop of an alien invasion. But Shyamalan’s narrative, I believe, fails to depict faith (at least as Mormons perceive it) and instead describes an entirely different relationship with God, one that is distinctly non-LDS but perhaps one we should consider.