“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.

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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.

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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:

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“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.


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“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:


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“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.)


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“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?
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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!
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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.

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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.)

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

Reader Question Box #7: Halloween edition: “body hair resurrection”

Leia and Jabba - Mormon Halloween Dance

Leia and Jabba at a Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

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)

Question: “body hair resurrection” [Read more…]

BCC Zeitcast 74: Matt Bowman, Bigfoot, Monsters, & Mormons

In this special Halloween episode, Scott B. and Steve Evans play host to BCC’s long-time friend and Juvenile Instructor blogger Matt Bowman, who thrills the children with tales of Cain, Bigfoot, and secret UFO societies. Later, recent BCC guest blogger Theric (Eric Jepson) gives us an update on the soon-to-be-released anthology “Monsters and Mormons.”

And if that lineup isn’t sufficient, our very own Kristine Haglund checks in to help the ladies design Halloween costumes depicting famous Mormon women.

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

Church-Hacker #15: Christ-Centered Testimony Meetings

An idea for better testimony meetings, submitted by Tevya of Mormon Life Hacker. (Sounds like Church-Hacker, but it isn’t. Go check it out.)
Testimony meetings that are about anything but testimonies seem to be a common problem. In college, a few of us were very concerned about this after a particularly bad testimony meeting. My good friend had an idea he’d seen done in another ward–he suggested it to the bishopric, they implemented it, and it worked fabulously!

It’s simply this: print a nice picture of Christ (here’s one that’s high-res enough for printing), and then beneath it, print these 3 steps in a very large, plain font:
  1. Tell us your name.
  2. Tell us a little about yourself.
  3. Tell us how you feel about the man in the red robe.
Put it in a sheet protector, to keep it nice. Each fast Sunday, put it on the pulpit. The first time he does it, the conducting bishopric member could explain it, and it may even be appropriate to explain it each month, so people are aware it’s there when they come up.

I love that the 3rd one doesn’t say “talk about Jesus” or something like that. It requires just that little bit of extra cognitive effort to make the association, and get’s them thinking a little more, rather than just skimming it and going ahead with what they planned to talk about.

Let’s stay focused, people!

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

Because, Dear Readers, We Love You

As part of BCC’s ongoing quest for World Domination, we feel the need to recognize a vital part of what makes blogging fun and what makes BCC a great place to hang out: YOU!

If you’re a follower of our Facebook Page or Twitter feed (and if you’re not, then please get with the program!), then you’re already aware of a new feature, which we hope will become a fun and exciting part of the regular programming here at BCC. Starting next week, BCC will be dishing out two awards every other Friday (unless we forget or get burned out or something), one for the Best Comment of the Week and one for the Worst Comment of the Week. Now, before you start penning your acceptance speeches, there are a few guidelines to be aware of. [Read more…]

Reader Question Box #6: “how do you pronounce paradisiacal”

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)

Question: “how do you pronounce paradisiacal” [Read more…]

Reader Question Box #5: “what’s tmi for a sacrament meeting talk”

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, and #4)

Question: “what’s tmi for a sacrament meeting talk”
Answer: Sometimes it is best to learn by example, rather than explanation. I could describe to you what TMI for a sacrament meeting talk would be, but it would be so much more instructive to just get many examples, and I’m sure our readers have them!
[Read more…]

BCC Zeitcast 73: Ken Jennings vs. GST

BCC’s beloved podcast returns! It’s been months since the last podcast, but we hope the new episodes are worth the wait.

In this episode, Scott B. listens in as John C. outlines his hopes for the upcoming General Conference (Hint: 2-hour block!), BHodges talks with long-time BCC friend Ken Jennings about Ken’s new book “Maphead,” and Mormon blogging legend GST makes an appearance to tell the world what it feels like to be humiliated on national TV. And if that lineup isn’t sufficient, we also have the sound of our very own Kristine Haglund listening to songs by Michael McLean.

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

Church-Hacker #14: Ender’s Game

Here’s a mischievous (but useful!) idea from our very own Norbert:

“Today I caught a guy calling other member’s phones during sacrament meeting, at about 11:05. (We start at 10.) He said he always starts when a speaker has gone over and doesn’t look like he’s about to finish. He feels like the ringing phone triggers the speaker to wrap it up. I did not discourage him in this practice.”

It’s the ultimate church-hack, harnessing a wireless network to trigger on-site devices to trigger a reaction from the speaker. Brilliant!

And now, an ethical question: Is doing a service to the many (the congregation) justification for rudeness to the one (the speaker)? Is the one’s own rudeness sufficient to justify a retaliatory rudeness? And is rudeness an appropriate word when talking about efforts to end or prolong sacrament meeting?

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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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