March Madness – Modern Mormon Prophets Region

It’s March Madness Bracket season, and it’s been too long since we’ve done anything remotely likely this.

A couple of notes:

  • Voting closes in 24 hours.
  • Seeds have been assigned in the only appropriate fashion: Apostolic seniority.
  • Ancient Prophets, Early Mormonism, and False Prophets regions are forthcoming.
  • Relevant questions for your consideration include:
  1. Who is more prophetic?
  2. Who would win in a leg wrestle?
  3. Whose talks better to read than to listen to? [Read more...]

Joseph Smith on Wall Street

josephsmithstatueNo, I don’t mean Joseph Smith’s 1832 visit to Manhattan, though he stayed at 88 Pearl Street, which is mere blocks from Wall Street,[fn1] and he may well have walked on Wall Street.  I also don’t mean the bronze statute of Joseph Smith that stood in the Financial District.

No, I mean the name-checking of Joseph in 2012′s induction ceremony for Kappa Beta Phi, a secret Wall Street fraternity. [Read more...]

Killing Narfi: Skyrim and the problem of evil

As Mormons, we have a pervasive, if not terribly well-attributed, belief that, in the next life, if we turned out to be good enough, we’ll get to make our own planets. Folks, why wait? There are a wealth of world-building strategy and role-playing games available right now. One has me in its web right now and it is causing me to consider the creation of a moral universe. [Read more...]

Judge Robert Shelby: 2013 Boggs-Doniphan Gentile (Non-Mormon) of the Year

The Boggs-Doniphan Gentile (Non-Mormon) of the Year award honors the non-Mormon who had the greatest impact on Mormonism, for good or ill, during the year. (See that other blog for Mormon of the Year.) The previous winners are John Turner, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez, Judge Vaughn Walker, Stephen Colbert, and Mike Huckabee. There’s no need for nominations and voting this year. This happened:

[Read more...]

Book Review: To Mormons with Love

I was hoping for a little more whoop ass, but the book was very sweet and sincere.

I just finished reading a fascinating book a couple months ago called To Mormons, With Love by Chrisy Ross. She blogs here and gives a quick overview of her book here. You can buy her book on Kindle here. Chrisy and her family are nondenominational Christians who live (voluntarily, not because of Witness Relocation or anything like that) in Utah County – and even enjoy it mostly! I’m not sure I know many Mormons for whom I could say the same, but I might live in the opposite of a Mormon bubble. [Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: about 20 kilograms of honey!

Marco Petrollini believes in God, family, and country–Italy. He’s an architect and project manager and father of four young children. He keeps bees in his backyard vegetable garden, and finds much to admire in their selfless work ethic. So often in the church we think of the God-family-country trifecta in narrow terms of American exceptionalism, so I loved seeing how Marco proudly and naturally owned those themes as a Mormon and an Italian man. Meet Marco:

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Rock climbing and the gospel

We return from summer vacation with a pair of videos about my favorite summertime activity: rock climbing. Meet Matthieu Bennasar, who heads up an IT security consultancy and escapes the pressure of his job by climbing up sheer, vertical rock faces (it really is very stress-relieving, trust me).

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Lindsey Stirling overcomes anorexia to be music phenom

You’ve probably heard about dancing, cosplaying, YouTube sensation violinist Lindsey Stirling. Her fanciful creations include enchanting ice caves, Lord of the Rings medley in New Zealand, and Zelda medley in quite convincing Zelda costume. Her live tour recently brought her here to San Diego, to the ecstatic delight of my coworkers, self-described biggest fans of Lindsey. Lindsey’s Mormon.org video reveals how she has battled eating disorders and other challenges in her career. Meet Lindsey:

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Rural artist and world traveler

I’ve always fantasized about living on a farm, going out daily to check on my henhouse with a trusty dog ever at my heels. The lifestyle enables eating homegrown food, and embracing the raw physicality, smells, and textures of the natural world. When Kathy Peterson says, “I’m in heaven,” I believe it. The icing on the cake: to keep her children open to the world, she takes them traveling. Meet Kathy:

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Football-loving barrister

Lola is a barrister in training, working in the prosecutor’s office in London. She’s a huge football fan (check out the victory dance at 3:24) whose own career in the game was cut short by a major surgery to treat severe scoliosis just as she was set to accept a soccer scholarship at an American university. Meet Lola:

[Read more...]

CTR: Crap That’s Real

CTR: Crap That’s Real is a column devoted to discussions of whatever I deem worthy of discussion. It might be Mormon-related; it might not be. This week, we are going to talk about new TV shows, bad parenting, fictional characters who should be Mormons, and other stuff. Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you want to talk about something.

GA material, that.

GA material, there.

*     *     *

Hooooo boy! Who’s sick of reading and slash or talking about conference? You too? Great, because I am pretty much done.  Actually, I was pretty much done by the middle of the Sunday afternoon session when the candy bowl we were using for that game (where you eat crap whenever people say crap) had nothing but jelly beans left.  Bottom of the barrel at the bottom of the barrel, right? So let’s all promise not to talk about GC ever again until this Sunday when we talk about it all day at church again. [Read more...]

CTR: Crap That’s Real

CTR: Crap That’s Real is a column devoted to discussions of whatever I deem worthy of discussion. It might be Mormon-related; it might not be. This week, we are going to talk about General Conference Snacks, Movies, Baseball, and other related minutiae. If you have something you think is worthy of inclusion in next week’s CTR, shoot me an email.

*     *     *

It has been nearly one and a half years since I last struck the keyboard here at BCC. During that absence, people have asked where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, why I left, and even whether or not I am actually the same person as Steve Evans, who was also absent during that same time period. These are all worthy questions, but the easiest one to answer is why I left.  It’s very simple: Over time, I became increasingly afraid of the possibility that Brad Kramer would eat me. [Read more...]

Why Santiago de Compostela?

caminodesantiagoOn Easter Monday, some of us here at BCC are converging on a small town in Galicia, Spain. The journey to our meeting place in Sarria begins for us from Germany, from England, and from the United States. In Sarria we shall meet as old friends, shake hands, chew the cud. And then for the following five days we will be walking the Way of St. James (El Camino de Santiago) to the cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela.

How it is that a group of Mormons are making this most Catholic of pilgrimages will be further explored in a later post. In the meantime, here is why I personally feel the draw of St. James’s shrine: [Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Violin maker in Vienna

This month we feature a violin maker who lives in Vienna. She’s passionate about her craft. She is a loving aunt to her nieces and nephews. Meet Henriette:

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: A physicist and a biologist

This month we feature a pair of videos: Physicist Dr. Ngo, and Geneticist Dr. Livingstone.

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Viennese Nigerian

Brother Talabi is a native of Nigeria, and recently served as bishop in his ward in Vienna, Austria. His happy, effortless manner is infectious, and I have a holy envy for the members of his ward. Enjoy:

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Costa Rican saints

Each Fast Sunday, we’ll feature a video from the Mormon.org website. This month we have a pair of videos featuring Mormons who live in Costa Rica. Freddy is a pizza chef and father to four children, two coming via adoption. Karina is a champion judo fighter and teacher. (Update: To view with English subtitles, press play and then press the “cc” button that appears at the bottom of the video.)

[Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Vanessa from London

Each Fast Sunday, we’ll feature one video from the Mormon.org website. A few weeks ago, we highlighted Cecile Pelous of France and Nepal. Today, we feature Vanessa, an aerial dancer from London.

“I’m a Mormon” video of the month: Cécile sold her house in Paris and moved to Nepal…

The initial buzz around the launch of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign in the bloggernacle has died down, but the campaign only continues to grow in visibility and influence. The past month saw more new ads released for non-English-speaking markets, including this one in Russian.

Another recent addition is, I think, the most impressive one so far in any language: Paris fashion designer Cécile Pelous is mother to 154 orphaned children…

Reader Question Box #9: Is Sufjan Stevens Mormon?

Sufjan wings

Sufjan Stevens

Reader Question Box is a series where we answer questions that show up in our website traffic monitoring statistics as Google search terms that led people to us. Copious oddities are to be found in the search term logs, and some worthwhile questions. (In case you missed our previous editions: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8)

Questions: “sufjan stevens lds?” “is sufjan stevens mormon”
Answer: Oh, I wish it were so! However, it is easy enough to prove that he isn’t:

As you can see in the photo, Sufjan has wings. We all know that Mormon angels don’t have wings. Therefore, we can say decisively that Sufjan is not Mormon. QED.
[Read more...]

Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez: The 2011 Boggs-Doniphan Gentiles of the Year!

Robert Lopez, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone

Note: if we had bothered to make a trophy for this award, it would have been way cooler looking than the Tony trophy.

Today, I come not to bury the Book of Mormon Musical creators Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez, but to announce that they have been named the 2011 Boggs-Doniphan Gentiles of the Year. To the extent that an award half-named for the man who tried to have us all killed, and half-named for a valued ally, can be considered an honor, I say to them: Congratulations!

So the question of the hour must be, is this year’s award a Boggs, or a Doniphan?
[Read more...]

Technologizing Sunday School Study

“This study guide is designed as a companion to your study of the Book of Mormon. It is divided into numbered sections that correspond with the lessons in the Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine course. Each section provides the week’s reading assignment and questions to enhance your study. You may use these questions to improve personal application of the scriptures and to prepare to make meaningful contributions to class discussions.

“You share with your Gospel Doctrine teacher the responsibility to help the class be successful. The Lord has said that teachers need to “preach … by the Spirit of truth” and that those who receive “the word of truth” should “receive it by the Spirit of truth” (D&C 50:17, 19). Come to class prepared to contribute insights, ask questions, share appropriate experiences, bear testimony, and listen attentively to the teacher and the other class members. When you have studied the reading assignments and pondered the questions in this study guide, you will be better prepared to experience the fulfillment of the Lord’s words when He said, “He that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:22).”

I only half listened to the Gospel Doctrine teacher as she read this from the Book of Mormon Class Member Study Guide on Sunday, so engrossed was I in preparing my notes (via mobile phone and tablet, both which sat on my lap)  gathered from the Bloggernacle and lds.org.

[Read more...]

Voting: Boggs-Doniphan Gentile of the Year Award 2011

Nominations are now closed, and voting begins. Who do you think was the non-Mormon with the biggest impact on Mormons or Mormonism this year? Voting will only be open for a few days, so vote now!

Nominations: Boggs-Doniphan Gentile of the Year Award 2011

Trophy

Disclaimer: not the actual B-D trophy.

2011 may be the Year of the Mormon, but in keeping with tradition we will still condescend to acknowledge one lucky person outside the faith this year. Yes, it is time for nominations for the fourth annual Boggs-Doniphan Gentile of the Year Award!
[Read more...]

Police Beat Roundtable XXIV

The 24th 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, here, here, here, here, here and here.

This week: Steve and GST are joined by Ken Jennings and some guy named Mark.

A student reported two five-gallon cans of gasoline stolen on Jan. 9 from the JRCB Law School parking lot. He had put the two full gas cans on top of his car while he attended his church meetings, and he said they were gone when he returned. He said he had the gas cans because he did not want to buy gas on Sunday, and he needed to drive to Kamas, Utah, after church. He had put the cans inside of his car while he drove to his meeting, but put them on top of his car while he was in church because he did not want his car to stink. The fuel and gas cans are totaled at $25.

GST: If it’s all the same to you, I’ll drive that tanker. [Read more...]

Reader Question Box #8: “is Tim Tebow Mormon?”

Reader Question Box is a series where we answer questions that show up in our website traffic monitoring statistics as Google search terms that led people to us. Copious oddities are to be found in the search term logs, and some worthwhile questions. (In case you missed our previous editions: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7)

Question: is Tim Tebow Mormon?
Answer: This search has been lighting up our google stats all week long. Answer: No, but if he follows the excellent advice given him from a very, very reliable source (see video), he will be soon! We think Tim Tebow would fit right in.
[Read more...]

Church-Hacker #17: A Meditative Fifth Sunday

Your bishopric will love this fifth-Sunday idea from BCC buddy Chris Gordon:
We tried this on a 5th Sunday in EQ last year and I thought it went well. Our bishop at the time wasn’t a big fan of ward-level 5th Sunday meetings, so we often had to improvise. One 5th Sunday we brought in an iPod playing hymns softly and spent the time in quiet devotional. It was a reminder to find quiet times of contemplation, reading, studying, and prayer.
The only thing that derailed it a bit was my forgetting to exclude MoTab’s latest rendition of “Amazing Grace”–complete with bagpipe accompaniment–from the playlist. (Scottish reverence isn’t.) Fortunately, we were all reminded that the Spirit is not, in fact, a rodent to be scared off at the slightest disruption, so no harm done.

____________

Got your own Church-Hacker idea? Submit it! (The church-hacking guidelines are here.) See all entries in this series here.

Best Comment of the Week (2): And the nominations are…

Another set of the nominations for Best Comment of the Week.  Rules for nomination are the same;  sorry Mark B. [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 75: Mixing Religion & Politics

With only one year left before the big 2012 Presidential Election, Newsweek and Daily Beast reporter McKay Coppins checks in with Scott B. on the goings-on for Mormon candidates Mitt Romney and John Huntsman, Jr. Later, Scott and Joanna Brooks discuss Harold Bloom’s recent travesty article in the New York Times, and Joanna’s response at Religion Dispatches.

And if that lineup isn’t sufficient, our very own Kristine Haglund stops by to help Scott understand big words.


Episode Content Guide (below the fold) [Read more...]

Church-Hacker #16: Impromptu Ward Choir

BCC reader Joanne has an easy way to fill out too-short sacrament meetings (we’re assuming there is such a thing):

(“The Holy Ghost led them…to sing” — Moroni 6:9)

When the Sacrament Meeting talks finish unexpectedly early, why not fill the time with impromptu music instead of impromptu speaking? The person conducting Sacrament Meeting could invite all willing congregants to come forward and sing a hymn of their choosing as a group. Those folks would have one minute to quickly decide how to sing the hymn (1st verse unison, 2nd verse men, etc.).

Another alternative would be for the bishopric and music chair to ask (in advance) a few versatile, confident musicians to prepare a few simple backup musical numbers for these situations.
Sounds good, right? I like the idea of an impromptu ward choir. The organist in my ward (the incomparable D. Fletcher), has been known to take to the podium before the closing hymn and organize a simple arrangement for it. Last week’s example, for Adam-Ondi-Ahman: All versus sung in unison, men sing the 2nd verse, women the 3rd, listen for the key change before the last verse, and repeat the last line three times.

Sometimes D. will also organize an impromptu hymn as his testimony on Fast Sundays. These off-the-cuff musical moments are often the highlight of my Sabbath.

Any similar experiences with impromptu music in your ward? (If not, you should totally move into mine.)

____________

Got your own Church-Hacker idea? Submit it! (The church-hacking guidelines are here.) See all entries in this series here.

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