Thursday Morning Quickie #1

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the "M Men-Gleaner Manual, Love, Marriage, and You" used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 10

Chastity and You

During World War II two soldiers, Tom and Vince, were off duty for six hours in a small French town. Both were in their early twenties and were morally clean. They sauntered about the streets in the dusk of the evening and then stopped for some food in a dimmed-out eating place. Two girls were seated at a table nearby and smiled at them in a friendly way. Before long, the girls came over to their table and started a simple conversation in broken English. Tom and Vince did not give them any encouragement and the girls finally left the eating place. However, as they arose to leave, one of the girls handed Tom a card with an address and telephone number on it. [Read more...]

Bloggernacle Classics: The R-Rated Movie

Bloggernacle Classics, a Continuing Series

It is time once again for the young students of the Bloggernacle to open their notepads and prepare for study, as I present the second installment of my fledgling series, Bloggernacle Classics.[1] You may recall the first entry revolved around the exploits of BCC’s own Aaron B., who has recently returned from the ranks of the Emeriti to grace BCC’s screen on a more regular basis. Today, my subject matter is the R-Rated Movie. However, the purpose here is history, not doctrine; therefore, the pros and cons, the virtues and evils, of R-rated movies will not be reviewed.[2]
[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...]

Ranking Sins — A Poll

In the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gave his hearers a higher law.  In verses 22 and 23, we read (KJV): 

 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt  not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 

Then, a little later in verses 27 and 28, we read: 

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 

[Read more...]

The Arms of the Priesthood

MMiles is a long-time participant in the Bloggernacle and a participant at Segullah. We are honored to have her as our guest.

“Brandon says he’s learned the importance of serving others through his Church membership. He notes that giving meaningful service is one of the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. ‘Scouting is the activity arm of the priesthood,’ he says.”

The February New Era arrived today sporting a pristine boy scout, backpack and all, prepared for a hike and perched on a large boulder. It’s the cover for the feature story, “Scouting: A Pillar Supporting the Priesthood.” At the heart of the article is the third page, a showcasing of scouts of varying ages, explaining how they find scouting and the priesthood work together. The opposite page briefly details the history of how the church chose BSA as its match.

1911 Church leaders decide that Scouting, with its spiritual background and cultural ideals, has great appeal.

And so, in 1913 the Church and BSA were married. It’s like a match made in heaven! The boys learn to serve, how to be a missionary. They gain knowledge, and build camaraderie. But, as we all know, scouting has its drawbacks: the lawsuits, extraordinary expense, extraordinary amounts of time, and its failure to adapt to modern needs, arguably unlike the Young Women’s program (unless you count video gaming).

However its biggest failure is stated plainly in the article itself, ironically one of the very reasons for which it was chosen to be the lifelong partner with the church—cultural ideals. [Read more...]

Black Holes and Mars and Venus

If you came to this post because the title led you to think this would be something cool about science by Steve P., you are out of luck.  Instead, it is a riff on John Crawford’s post from last week entitled The Black Hole. Crawford explains convincingly how our tendency to just throw up our hands when it comes to understanding male sexuality is unproductive. We apparently are content to stumble along thinking that every single man on earth is just a hunka hunka burnin’ lust, so what are ya gonna do about it?  It’s really no mystery why we continue to struggle with the same problems over and over, with no measurable progress.

[Read more...]

Eden: Hebrew Bible Back Row 2

Many readers will remember my Back Row series on the Doctrine and Covenants. I wanted to continue writing about the scriptures connected with Sunday School, but the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is far more complex than the Doctrine and Covenants, and I’m just an interested amateur. So I’m calling in reinforcements. This week, I’m joined by Kiskilili from Zelophehad’s Daughters, as well as Ronan, John C., and Kristine all from BCC. (Because the documents are all complicated and in some ways different, this series will focus on Hebrew Bible texts discussed in Sunday School, with Pearl of Great Price and JST texts referred to when they are of interest for the Hebrew Bible but not placed at the center of attention.)

JNS: This week’s Back Row discussion focuses on Genesis 2-3, the Hebrew Bible reading for the fourth Sunday School lesson this year.  Here, we’re asked to talk about one of the most-interpreted narratives in human history, the Adam and Eve narrative.  To get things started on the right note, I’d like to make the popular point that the narrative is about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. [Read more...]

The Black Hole

This post will likely make you uncomfortable. I know that I am going to be uncomfortable writing it. [Read more...]

You Make the Call: The Gospel as a Weapon Edition

Suppose that you are faithful Latter-day Saint who lives in a part of the world where there are few members of the Church, and everyone knows each other–or knows someone who knows those you don’t. A small, close-knit network of several 3rd and 4th generation families and their children, minimally impacted by converts and migration.

Suppose further that your spouse is a very well-respected member of the Church–generally regarded as a highly spiritual person, faithful to temple covenants, magnifies callings, has friends in lofty local leadership positions, and serves in the ward otherwise in ways that demonstrate to all observers that he is an honest, loving, faithful Latter-day Saint, husband, and father. Suppose, however, that the truth is, your spouse is a monster who uses the gospel as a weapon to demean you, to malign you, and to compel you into submission in all areas of life. [Read more...]

Book Review: Women of the Old Testament

The Old Testament is a fairly intimidating source of scripture as it was produced thousands of years ago by a culture that is greatly foreign to our own. The strangeness of the Old Testament text and cultural milieu is likely particularly potent for women who approach the text. Among the few things that we can say with confidence regarding the culture of Ancient Israel is that it was misogynistic. Therefore, Camille Fronk Olsen’s recent book Women of the Old Testament is best considered as a good introductory text to help teachers, particularly those interested in applying scripture to women’s lives, tackle this very difficult work.
[Read more...]

Caption This MormonAd

The following was submitted by regular BCC commenter blt, whom the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has retained in its membership solely on the merits of his willingness to teach eleven year-olds knots. He currently (p)resides with his wife in Korea where he teaches middle school.

Dear BCC readers,
I recently came across a cache of old MormonAds (they were probably called something else back in the day) while going through some of my Mom’s old things. I thought this might be a comedy gold mine, and I offer this first image (with the original text from the back of the ad beneath) for your captioning: [Read more...]

Virtue, revisited

At the beginning of 2009 I published my most inflammatory post ever–the one about the church announcing the addition of an eighth value to the Young Women Personal Progress program, Virtue. I took the press release, which invited parents and leaders “to teach the doctrine of chastity and moral purity to help each young woman to be virtuous,” as an indication that the church and the Young Women program particularly were aiming to put a special emphasis on chastity. [Read more...]

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...]

A Holiday Visit to Sodom and Gomorrah

Nothing like an all-destructive act of divine carpet bombing to kindle the holiday spirit. I actually debated putting off the conversation to a less celebratory time, but time, it seems, is the one luxury which we currently lack. You see, it turns out (so I’m told, by people who really seem to know what they’re talking about) that God destroys societies that embrace and normalize homosexual relationships. Since we appear to be on the brink, as a civilization, of making precisely that mistake, I figured better safe than Sodom. So, let’s get to brass tacks: why did God destroy the cities on the plains, and what might it all portend for a society (ours) where the gay agenda is spreading and taking root like a crop of rainbow dandelions? [Read more...]

Twilight: harmless fun or dangerous fantasy?

A (slightly edited) conversation I recently participated in:

  • I have now spoken in person to three adult LDS women who have seen this movie in the past 36 hours.  They just gush about it, you can’t get them to shut up, and they all plan to see it again within the week.  What am I missing? Also, all three commented at length and favorably about the amazing bod of some guy in the film.  Turns out he’s 17.  Adults in their 30s lusting after underage teenage flesh, how creepy is that? [Read more...]

Girlfriends and girlfriends

Would you allow your teenage daughter to attend a sleepover hosted by her friend who recently self-identified as lesbian? [Read more...]

Goodbye Women’s Research Institute

Had I not been raised Mormon, I suspect that I would not have majored in English literature.  I like nonfiction more than novels, but literary criticism offered me women’s studies and a vocabulary through which I could think critically about how my Mormon culture prescribed gender roles that I found constricting.  Being able to grasp a historical perspective on the evolution of gender was liberating to me, because this understanding gave me an expanded psychological capacity to choose how I would live my life.  I appreciated that I found a place that was willing to take women’s experiences as serious objects of study, thus making significant experiences that were often under-valued.   [Read more...]

The Secret Gospel of Mark Revisited

In 1941, Morton Smith spent two months of meditative seclusion at the monastery of Mar Saba, about a dozen miles southeast of Jerusalem. Three years later he would be ordained an Episcopalian deacon, but eventually he informally left the clerical life for that of the scholar, quipping that he was giving out cigars because he was no longer a Father. 17 years after his first visit, in 1958 (the year of my birth), he returned to the monastery as a 43-year old professor of history at Columbia University. This time he did not observe the monastic life, but was come as part of his research into old books in monasteries in Greece, Turkey and the Holy Land. [Read more...]

Elder Scott Hits Me a Week Later

BCC friend and guest-blogger-at-large Kyle M returns with a post that reads like a journal entry from EFY. Enjoy!

Man, the Spirit always speaks to me when I least expect it. I was sitting in Elders’ Quorum on Sunday, just like I do every Sunday, and a member of the EQ presidency was in charge of the lesson, just like on most Sundays. The quorum was split into small groups, and we were discussing different conference talks, with the expectation that each group would later give a synopsis to the whole quorum. [Read more...]

Acquiring Spiritual Guidance

Elder Scott’s recent General Conference address, To Acquire Spiritual Guidance, begins on a somewhat ironic note. After noting that in times past if one sought guidance they would turn to mentors or advisors, the current technological information overload means turning to others for advice can be a very risky proposition. Rather than bemoaning the death of trust, we should welcome the excuse to turn our eyes upward for inspiration. Elder Scott seems to be saying that human interlocutors will always be inadequate and that we will be better served by seeking to commune with the Lord directly. [Read more...]

Affirmation v. Evergreen

I don’t know whether it was by coincidence or intentional, but Affirmation and Evergreen both held their annual conferences in SLC yesterday, thus resulting in an opportunity to compare and contrast their two divergent approaches to the issues surrounding homosexuality in the Church. [Read more...]

P.S. What are you wearing?

So the other day I tossed off this post about teaching our girls (okay, “our children, especially daughters”) the importance of modest dress, and then I promptly went off to play with my three-year-old (who was respectably clad in an oversize t-shirt and long pants) and subsequently spent the rest of the day de-cluttering and reorganizing the toy room. I didn’t re-visit the post until late that afternoon, when I was not remotely surprised to learn that aforementioned post had generated more feedback than usual. More than usual for me, I mean. Most of what I post doesn’t provoke much of a response. When I post on a topic like modesty, however, it is guaranteed that the same arguments will get trotted out and re-hashed ad nauseum in the comments section. At first I felt a little guilty for writing something so predictably inflammatory and then abandoning the thread to pursue my own selfish interests, but as I read what everyone had to say, the guilt completely dissipated and I felt that, if anything, I had served the greater good by letting nature take its course and thus prove my satirical point more effectively than I ever could have, had I taken the time to formulate thoughtful responses to everyone’s arguments. [Read more...]

Teaching modesty to our youth: ur doin it rong

Silvia H. Allred, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, had an article on modesty in the July 2009 issue of the Ensign. In the sidebar, “Teaching Modesty to Our Children,” Sister Allred wrote the following:

Girls might not recognize that the physical display they create when they dress immodestly affects boys more than it does them. Help children, especially daughters, understand that attracting someone of the opposite sex solely by physical means does not create a lasting relationship.

[Read more...]

Three Midwives

ELOUISE: I took beginning creative writing from Elouise Bell, who demanded quite a lot. I loved the experience, and decided I would indeed become a writer. I didn’t do particularly well in it (I think I got a B), but I loved the freedom of creating stories. I loved the give-and-take of her class–though I was frankly intimidated by her back then.

I still use some of Elouise’s exercises as I teach my own students. More than her teaching, however, I remember two specific incidents involving Elouise. [Read more...]

My Sunstone Experience

Sunstone is over for another year. I finally have access to a computer, so I thought I’d jot some notes on my experience there this year. [Read more...]

2010 or 2012?

Yesterday, the largest organization involved in 2008′s failed campaign to defeat Proposition 8 in California announced that it would be waiting until 2012 to make another attempt at legalizing gay marriage. While some other groups, such as Courage Campaign, have indicated that they will continue to push for a ballot measure in 2010, this decision by Equality California, which was based at least in part on feedback from many of the largest donors/contributors to the No on 8 campaign, could determine what actually happens, and for the purposes of this post, I assume that it does. Because I live in California, I personally am grateful for the possibility of not seeing this fight again next year. However, there are implications of this delay for everyone with a stake in this issue, politicians included.
[Read more...]

Race, Gender, Ethnicity and the Restoration

Attend JWHA

Plan to attend the annual conference of the John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA), this September 24-27, 2009, in Independence, Missouri. Our program will explore the important, controversial, and too often ignored themes of ethnicity, race, and gender (including sexual orientation) in Mormonism. (I say “ignored,” not because these themes are ignored on the bloggernacle, but rather because scholarship, especially history, too often focuses on the elite narrative of church headquarters, which is almost exclusively white and male.) [Read more...]


John C. and Scott B. collaborate to bring us another installment of BCC Labs.

Dear Sisters of the Church,

While we here at BCC Labs are deeply concerned with the ongoing conversations found in the Daily Universe, we are also multitasking. This is thanks to our development of a robot named Millie, who does most of the cleaning, and to a system for connecting computers together by giving them unique addresses and encouraging them to connect to new computers (for a small piece of the action) that we are tentatively calling the “NuSkinternet.” We were just getting ready to leave for a very important series of experiments to be completed in Tahiti when Millie brought to our attention an item of interest, one that could radically affect the growth of the Church and the raising of the bar for missionaries. We speak, of course, of lingerie.
[Read more...]

On Abandoning My Friend

We were in elementary school, first grade. My friend, Travis (I’ve changed names), was the kid everyone picked on. He was a tall, glasses-wearing, brainy, shy kid. He was also my next door neighbor. There was a tennis court between our houses, and we often did silly things like jump around the court singing commercial jingles. (“They’re putting pink elephants in new Crispy Critters…”) During recess one day, several mischievous boys found a way to use multiple jumping ropes to tie Travis to a tree. He didn’t cry, but his helpless eyes met mine as the recess bell sounded. We were being summoned back to our classroom. I was torn. The rules said I was supposed to go to class–we got in trouble if we didn’t obey the bell. But there was Travis, bound to a tree. Could I leave him? I walked backwards towards the school, then shouted, “I’m sorry. The bell. Sorry.” I faced forward and ran back to class. [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...]


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