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

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Happy Remembrance Day, all.

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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.

The Bloggernacle Won’t Save You

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...]

Newsroom Blog

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.

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Seeing With a Blind Eye

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...]

The Bloggernacle 1st Ward, again

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...]

Police Beat Roundtable #17

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...]

Interview with Michael Otterson

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...]

Prepare every needful thing… FOR BBQ.

flamewarIt 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...]

Signs (and portents)

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.

If you’ve not seen Signs, be warned: this post contains straight-up spoilers. It’s a fair movie overall, and one worth renting. (Illustration below, courtesy of Matthew Page) [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 39

Season 2 Album Artwork In which Ronan is sauced the entire time, Amri considers moving to Colorado and Steve takes up archery in the name of Captain Trips.

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Police Beat Roundtable #16

The Sixteenth 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, and here.

This week: Matthew Page joins our regular cast of characters.

SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY

A student received a random phone call on his cell phone Oct. 24 from someone trying to sell him drugs using the slang language and when he replied “What?” the person hung up the phone. [Read more...]

U.S.A., A-OK

Great country, love the pirate-killinz. But [y]our health care system is messed up. [Read more...]

Gaining a Testimony of the Prophet

I am a big fan of President Gordon B. Hinckley. His easy speaking style, his friendly manner, his relationships with the media at large and his managerial style all won me over – I knew he was a prophet of God and loved to hear everything he had to say. When he died, I was filled with sadness and I instinctively recoiled at the thought of another leading the Church. While I’ve always respected Thomas S. Monson and sustained him as President, I can’t say that I had a separate and bold testimony of him.

Last Sunday afternoon that changed for me. [Read more...]

Lily Allen Tweets Her Way Into the Font

Why of course you know who Lily Allen is, she’s a indie-pop-rock phenomenon with no.1 singles on the UK and Australian charts, and top 10 hits in the United States. She is known for her internet presence, irreverent sense of humor and third nipple. She also recently tweeted about Mormons. [Read more...]

General Conference: The protesters

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A brief photo montage of some of the faces on the sidewalks during today’s conference. With each is a brief audio interview. Enjoy! [Read more...]

Sunday Morning Conference

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Good morning! A beautiful crisp morning as Lloyd Newell works his magic. We will continue with our live coverage of today’s conference. Photos and other commentary to come. Sneak peek: two members of the First Presidency will speak this morning. Just a reminder, as Lloyd Newell wraps things up, that you can also join us simultaneously on Twitter. [Read more...]

Saturday Afternoon General Conference

img_1185 We continue our coverage; this post will be updated with photographs and commentary as we go. I’m starting this off but Kristine will take over once she realizes what I’ve been writing. [Read more...]

Yes we will be following General Conference.

I know you all were chomping at the bit to know what BCC will be doing for General Conference this year. Answer: liveblogging, reporting, photoblogging from the Conference Center, plus twitter updates and sidebar updates as we go. We are also now accepting suggestions for a good name for our coverage. So far we’re going with SPRING CONFERENCE 2009: CONFERENCE HARDER. [Read more...]

Great Scott!

All, after a great week (and only one magically disappearing post debacle!) of being our guest, Scott B has joined BCC as our newest permablogger. Please join me in welcoming him aboard.

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Police Beat Roundtable #15

The Fifteenth 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 and here.

This week: S.P. Bailey and Scott B. join us.

BYU Police Capt. Michael Harroun’s tip of the week: “When in doubt, never give anything out!”

S.P.: Not even candy? [Read more...]

Don’t believe the (happiness) hype

Will Wilkinson, commenting on Catherine Rampell’s “The Happiest States of America” article on the NYTimes’ Economix blog, suspects “a skoche of culture-driven upward inflation” is at play in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which puts Utah at the top of states reporting a general sense of happiness (HT: Greg). More specifically, he states:

I’ll vouch for the fact that Utahns are exceptionally chipper. Though perhaps it should be noted that some Mormons are almost ideological about the idea that they ought to be happy.

Just some Mormons, Will? Happiness is inherent in our ideology. [Read more...]

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