Thex makes me thad

Theric rides again!


You know how sex makes me sad? I tell you how sex makes me sad. Sex makes me sad when people are talking about it and don’t think to invite me. What is that all about? Man alive. I’m an artist! Of course I want to talk about sex!

The problem is, no one wants to talk with me. In a 2009 issue of Irreantum, Bruce Jorgensen wrote a tired retread titled “Reading About Sex in Mormon Fiction — If We Can Read” which basically was the for-idiots version of his much better 1987 Dialogdue article on the topic. On Thutopia, I wrote a response to that article as part of my LDS Eros series (I’ve also written about the 1987 article) in which I pretended that Jorgensen should be reading my blog and know all about the interesting and scintillating and crazy-sexy things I’d been saying. In fact, as far as I know, I’ve had exactly one BYU professor read my blog exactly once. And if memory serves, he wasn’t interested in fictional-sex advice. So even if I am opening new doors and not just revisiting tired antiroach arguments, it doesn’t matter because I’m not part of the conversation. [Read more…]

Theric wants to know: Who will be our Richard Cracroft, now that our Richard Cracroft is gone?

Theric continues his reign of terror as BCC’s guest-post extravaganza continues unabated. 

First, let me recognize that not all Mormons who know how to read went to Brigham Young University*, but we certainly have enough alumni to agree that readers of BYU Magazine are not an insignificant number of reading Saints (~215,000). [Read more…]

Thanonymity and Thelf-promotion

BCC has officially decided that permas will no longer post. Instead, you’ll be subjected to a constant stream of guest posts, such as this one from Theric.


I was on the AML blog last November declaring that

One of the reasons we want people’s real names for the bylines in Mormons & Monsters is because it’s time for us as artists to own up to our culture, our art, our heritage, our faith, our contradictions, our words, our selves.

Time to stop hiding.

The next comment accused me of hypocrisy, to which I could only think “What? What? What? DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM???”

I am Theric. I thought you knew that. [Read more…]

The [Missed] Opportunity

Continuing with our unofficial guest-palooza this week, BCC is pleased to have this guest post from frequent commenter Chris Gordon.

A few years back, Kristine related George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” to some of the linguistic traps we can fall into within the church. Along the same vein, I’d like to suggest that some of those very trappings can, if we’re not careful, cause us to miss an opportunity for better communion with the Spirit and greater shared experience in prayer and testimony.  Consider the following phrases, oft heard in prayer and testimony:

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to be here today; and we’re grateful for the opportunity to hear the speakers and for the opportunity to take the sacrament. Please bless those who didn’t have the opportunity to be here today.”

[Read more…]

Paradox and Peculiarity: Exploring Mormon Identity through Patristic Scholarship (conclusion)

This is the conclusion to a 3-part series from guest author Adam J. Powell, a PhD student at Durham University. His multidisciplinary work analyses the role of opposition in the development of identity and soteriological beliefs among second-century Christians and early Mormons. The first and second parts of this series can be found here and here, respectively.


Having recounted the shortcomings of Hugh Nibley’s use of Irenaeus in the previous post, three additional LDS figures will now be discussed.  The 1970’s and 80’s witnessed two Mormon thinkers who significantly propelled the move away from an emphasis on the Great Apostasy to a focus on Patristic theology.  Keith Norman and Philip Barlow both took on the task of drawing comparisons between the early Christian concept of theosis and the Mormon doctrines of eternal progression and exaltation.  In doing so, each espoused the notion that the earliest forms of deification gradually morphed in order to become more compatible with the orthodox Christian belief in creation ex nihilo.  In an article for Sunstone, Norman said, ‘…the principal reason the doctrine of Divinization could not survive in the church’s theology proper was that it conflicted with the doctrine of creation ex nihilo to which most “orthodox” Christians adhered by the middle of the third century.’ This followed his claim that Irenaeus was the ‘first explicit advocate of divinization’.  In fairness, Norman published an article (‘Ex Nihilo: The Development of the Doctrines of God and Creation in Early Christianity,’ BYU Studies 17 (Spring 1977)) a bit later in which he explicitly claims Irenaeus as the first Christian to formulate a creatio ex nihilo doctrine.  The confusion, however, still remains.  How can Irenaeus be an early proponent of both creatio ex nihilo and theosis if the two doctrines are fundamentally incompatible? [Read more…]

Paradox and Peculiarity: Exploring Mormon Identity through Patristic Scholarship (cont.)

This is the second post in a 3-part series from guest author Adam J. Powell, a PhD student at Durham University. His multidisciplinary work analyses the role of opposition in the development of identity and soteriological beliefs among second-century Christians and early Mormons. The first part of this series can be found here.


For the sake of brevity, only a small number of specific LDS thinkers will appear in the following critique.  As noted previously, the paradoxical nature of Mormon faith is exhibited by the Saints’ self-definition as a ‘peculiar people’.  The confusion arises when various religious representatives, whether church-sanctioned or informally acknowledged, attempt to draw significant parallels between the beliefs and behaviours of Latter-day Saints and those of mainstream Christians.  These ‘touch points’ are most often emphasized by church apologists and academics with an apologetic agenda.
[Read more…]

Paradox and Peculiarity: Exploring Mormon Identity through Patristic Scholarship

BCC is pleased to present a 3-part series from guest author Adam J. Powell, a PhD student at Durham University.  His multidisciplinary work analyses the role of opposition in the development of identity and soteriological beliefs among second-century Christians and early Mormons.  


Appealing to biblical passages such as Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 14:2, Psalm 135:4, and 1 Peter 2:9; Latter-day Saints have often referred to themselves as ‘a peculiar people’. This self-defining label, though clearly tied to the Mormon understanding of Hebrew connections with the Western Continent, goes beyond establishing a spiritual heritage. It serves as a focus of identity. In fact, the very same phrase from the King James Bible has been adopted by more than one religious group both as an internal motivator and an external identifier. For those on the outside, the term ‘peculiar’ rapidly alienates and distinguishes the adherents from the greater society. Viewed from within, the label reinforces this same in-group/out-group dichotomy, but it also mobilises the collective by fabricating a unique identity as a special and extraordinary group. In spite of its rather circular logic (we are special because we say we are), this act of self-definition greatly impacts solidarity and, subsequently, religious loyalty. [Read more…]

The Mormon Conservative Anti-War Movement

[Note from Admin: Recently, while under the influence of some (allegedly) fermented root beer, a rogue BCC perma suggested that permas from M* and BCC switch places in the name of building bridges or increasing dialogue between two groups who often don’t seem to play nicely with each other.  Although no one was sure if anything would come of this proposal, Geoff B. has made good on his end of the agreement.]

Geoff B is a convert to the Church who writes for Millennial Star.

For a relatively recent convert like myself, President Hinckley’s April 2003 talk right before the U.S. entered the Iraq war was very confusing.  On the one hand, it was clear to me after reading the Book of Mormon two or three times by then that the Church’s message is one of peace, non-aggression and avoiding offensive wars.  On the other, President Hinckley seemed to be justifying the Iraq invasion.

[Read more…]

Duck Beach: A Contradiction?

This guest post comes from Stephen Frandsen, who is a co-founder and executive producer of Big Iron Productions. In addition to working on film sets in New York City, he produces photo shots, commercials, documentaries, and the like. While he is currently a “29 Year-Old Single Mormon,” he is engaged to be married this fall.

I saw a headline on Gawker the other day that made me look twice: “Mormons Conquer New York.” I’ve been in New York for six years, and this was maybe the first time I saw Mormons and New York linked together positively in the media. Of course, the headline was referring to yesterday’s news that The Book of Mormon Musical received 14 Tony nominations.
[Read more…]

Tuesday Afternoon Poetry

Harbor Hills Ward: Newport Beach

You emerge from your car, laughing.
“I forgot to tie my dress,” you say,
turning your back to me, and I do it for you.
And I think I understand how Cinderella felt
once, that early afternoon,
when the ball was still imaginary:

Standing there,
in her wrinkled black polyester,
grasping Drusilla’s sash,
her callused fingertips
not fathoming the silk,
it’s that fine, bluer than
Gatsby’s shirts, softer,
wealth slipping through her fingers,
fluttering, catching on a hangnail–
Cinderella hopes she doesn’t smell of onions
as she ties a lopsided bow
on her sister.

[Read more…]

Mormon Women Project: Liz Shropshire

Neylan McBaine shares with us some background on a new interviewee at the MWP.

“I can never forget how much I want to get married,” a 30-something friend told me recently after returning from an exotic trip half way around the world those of us with spouses and dependents can only dream of. “I was standing on top of a mountain looking at the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen and all I could think about was how I’d rather be home with a husband and kids! I’m sick of being reminded that I should be pursuing marriage when it’s the one thing I can never forget.” [Read more…]

Could you qualify as a “Conscientious Objector”?

The following is a submission from Ron Madson, written on February 23, 2011, the fourth anniversary of his father’s passing as a tribute to his legacy.

My father was a WWII veteran that served in Patton’s infantry in the European theatre. It wasn’t until he was 91 years old before he told me the details of his war experiences—and I am not aware if he told anyone else. My father was the most Christ-like person I have ever known. In the fall of 2002 I sat with my father listening to the war rhetoric seeking to justify our nation’s invasion of Iraq. This man, who rarely showed emotion and spoke seldom, emotionally told me that he did not believe that there was any scripture or Christian principle that would allow us to attack another country as we did in Afghanistan and were about to do in Iraq. He was certain that in our anger, fear and pride we, like the Nephites of old, were abandoning our covenant with the Lord by being the aggressor. He was hopeful that as a people we would surely denounce these wars. Knowing his character I am certain that if he were magically young again, he would have applied for conscientious objector status as to our current wars— as he would have in Viet Nam. [Read more…]

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of the Faithful: LDS Church Debuts Green Buildings

George Handley serves on the Executive Board of Utah Interfaith Power and Light and is the author of Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River (University of Utah Press 2010), a book that blends LDS theology, history, nature writing, and memoir. He will also have an article forthcoming in the Summer 2011 edition of Dialogue.

Actions speak louder than words, or so they say. In which case the actions taken by the LDS church to green their architecture according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards represents a major sermon on the Christian duty to reduce our ecological footprint. LEED certification was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council as a way to facilitate architectural design that works to reduce the ecological footprint comprehensively (see Last spring, the LDS Church unveiled a new multi-congregation building in Farmington, Utah with 158 solar panels on its roof, state of the art Solarban windows to reduce interior heat in the summer, dual-flush water-saving toilets, bike racks, instantaneous water heaters, comprehensive recycling, xeriscaping, and a meter in the ward library that measures the building’s savings in units of electricity, gas, and, yes, carbon. This is one of four prototypes that the church will use to apply for a portfolio certification so as to then roll out all future meetinghouses according to LEED standards. [Read more…]

BCC Papers 6/1: Hardy, The King James Bible

You can read the full paper here.

Grant Hardy, “The King James Bible and the Future of Missionary Work”—Synopsis

The King James Version of the Bible has a long and storied history, but the LDS Church is entering a period when the drawbacks of that 400 year old translation will become more and more apparent, for several reasons: [Read more…]

Elaine Bradley: RM, Rock Star

Neylan McBaine is a recurring guest at By Common Consent.

By now, it’s old news that rock star Brandon Flowers of The Killers is Mormon. And perhaps you’ve heard of our other coolest Mormon performer, internationally renown DJ Kaskade. But what if I told you we could also claim a female rock star? A drummer, at that? A drummer whose band’s single reached #1 on the Alternative Rock Chart? Meet Elaine Bradley of the Neon Trees at the Mormon Women Project. [Read more…]

Where Are the Great Mormon Artists?

I participated in a BYU-Idaho student documentary about Mormon art (probably because I wrote a blog post agreeing with a Slate blog post about the lack of great Mormon artists). It’s well done and it’s embedded below the fold…give it a view and a good rating.

The documentary starts with a famous quote from Orson F. Whitney, a leader in the church about a hundred years ago: “We shall yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.”

The question the Slate article addresses and that I address during my comments in the video is simply “Where are they? Why hasn’t our culture produced them yet?” [Read more…]

Neylan McBaine and the Mormon Women Project

Neylan McBaine is a recurring guest at By Common Consent. See her earlier posts here and here.

One year ago today, I sent out an email to a few hundred contacts, announcing that I had posted 18 lengthy interviews with interesting Mormon women on a new website, On the first anniversary of the launch of the Mormon Women Project, Bethany’s interview represents the best of what the MWP offers: authentic, comprehensive insights into the lives of women whose life paths deviate from our stereotyped ideal (either by choice or by circumstance) but who treasure their relationships with their Savior. Bethany was confronted with her husband’s pornography addiction four years ago, and has since gone through different stages of hurt and healing which she shares openly in this interview.

[Read more…]

The Perfect Diet for Mormons

Recurring Guest and BCC Man-Crush Kyle M returns with honor.

I haven’t had a carb in over a week now, and you know, it hasn’t been that bad. December might be the perfect month for Atkins or South Beach Diet, because I’m literally surrounded by carbs and sugar for a whole month—sugar cookies, candy canes, hot chocolate, seasonal peppermint ice cream (the best kind). If I can forgo all the carb temptations of December, that’s like skipping carbs for two regular months, and as a reward to myself, I won’t set New Years resolutions.
[Read more…]

Meet The Polygamists Next Door

MikeInWeHo is an old friend of BCC, and currently serves as our Special Media Correspondent, providing commentary on TV shows we can’t watch because we’re too cheap to pay for cable. His past work can be seen here, here, here, and here.

Sunday night brought the premier of the new series Sister Wives on The Learning Channel. The affable Kody Brown and his three wives have opened their home to the world, and we get a new take on contemporary polygamy. This is billed as a reality series, but are these people for real or is this TV with an agenda? [Read more…]

The Sacrament of Grief, Part 2

This is the second in a series from BCC Guest Nicholas S., known to many of you as Latter-day Guy. Part 1 can be found here.

Iuste iudex ultionis, Donum fac remissionis Ante diem rationis.[6]

The sun is bright for the graveside service, and most of us are melting. Beneath the layers of cotton and wool, my body attempts––unsuccessfully––to cool itself. Whatever heavenly engineer thought up the idea of perspiration must not have considered the effects of high-humidity. The discomfort is not entirely bad though. Like attending a Portuguese Mass with my Spanish-speaking ears, it has a certain blunting effect. I make brief eye-contact with some of the familiar faces around me; a few offer wan smiles. Several of us are surprised that the graves will not be dedicated, but the cemetery is owned by the parish. Their turf, their rules. A brother tells me in a near whisper that the dedication will happen later, very discreetly. The revelation is strangely (and inappropriately) amusing. There is something gothic and Van Helsing-esque about the thought of this genial, balding elder’s quorum member breaking into a graveyard to exercise his ninja priesthood in the dead of night, dispatching a zombie for good measure on the way to a home teaching appointment. Like sawdust on running water, the crowd moves away en masse, slowly separating into smaller and smaller companies. One of the more gregarious young women (her dad used to be our ward mission leader) greets me and Elder Latu, and we talk for a moment. All I can remember now is her confidence that God would mete out justice, and the hard set to her jaw and the gun-metal glint in her eye that this conviction gave her. She is probably right, but the thought is not comforting. Despite the heat, something inside feels cold.
[Read more…]

Reconciling the Indian Placement Program

This post comes from BCC Guest mmiles.

I was sixteen when Mr. Zeeman assigned our journalism class to interview another student. “Lisa” was in the class with me, and I could interview her while we waited our turn in typing class.   Lisa was “on placement.” She was from an Indian reservation and was assigned to live with a foster family for the school year. She had been a participant for a few years already. [Read more…]

The Sacrament of Grief

BCC is thrilled to welcome Nicholas S., known throughout the records of the Bloggernacle as Latter-day Guy, as a new guest blogger.

Note: Among my many deficiencies as a missionary were my journal keeping habits. These habits were deficient mainly in that they did not exist. The events described are true to the best of my recollection, but there may well be some inaccuracies regarding certain details and timing. Also, names have been changed to protect the innocent. And the guilty.


Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris… [1]

Both too early and too late, the phone rings. It is after seven o’clock in the morning when Elder Latu picks up the receiver and mumbles a groggy hello.

“Yeah, let me get him, President.” [Read more…]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 10

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. BCC has been pleased to have him as our guest for this special series of posts.

In the last entry I talked about my “Low experience” with Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, an experience that many Latter-day Saints in music share.  This is the tenth and final installment of The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of.  Before I complete the list I just want to thank everyone at By Common Consent for allowing me to evangelize for my musicians.  I feel quite honored by the opportunity, and I also feel quite overzealous and protective of our Latter-day Saint musical community sometimes.  Some of the friendships I’ve made through Linescratchers will indeed last a lifetime, and I’m always incredibly happy to talk about our artists, promote their music, and help them through the unique challenges that members of our faith community experience in the world of music.

Now I know what most of you will think when you see this last installment:  “What a cop out!”  Let me explain myself.  I selected the “Top 10” based on my own personal preferences and a desire to see many different genres and diverse backgrounds represented.  I’ve had to respect the wishes of certain musicians by not featuring them.  Also, there are of course time and space constraints.  The musicians I’ve featured are by no means the only LDS musicians in this world, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some more artists.  Therefore, my last installment will be a few artists that didn’t make the full list, but that I think are still worth listening to. [Read more…]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 9

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

In my last installment I took us all on a trip down to the American South, to hear the dark yet soothing songs of Jeff Zentner. This time, I’ll be writing about a band that changed everything for me. Many of you were probably expecting this one, so it’s a little daunting to write it.

I realize that this series has been called “The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve NEVER Heard Of”, and I also realize that many if not most of you are aware of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, but this essay is for those of you who are still not familiar with them. As I said above, Low changed everything for me, but I was a latecomer to finding out about them.
[Read more…]

The Case for Hypocrisy

This post comes from frequent BCC reader Martin.

In our society, hypocrisy seems to have been elevated to the ultimate sin. When Ted Haggard, the evangelical who was “outed” by male prostitute Mike Jones for gay sex and the use of amphetamines, it wasn’t the drug use, it wasn’t the gay sex, or even the hiring of a prostitute — it was the hypocrisy which attracted the most opprobrium. In fact, when Mr. Jones was attacked from every direction (even by a male escort for exposing his client), he defended himself by saying “I had to expose the hypocrisy. He is in the position of influence of millions of followers, and he’s preaching against gay marriage. But behind everybody’s back [he’s] doing what he’s preached against.” Haggards’ sin of hypocrisy seemed to trump anything Jones may have done, including procuring the drugs. [Read more…]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 8

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time I told you all about the kicking classical composer Jennifer Thomas, who both plays and teaches violin and piano but also  composes music for short films, television, and lullabies.  This time, I’m moving you to the South that I love, where this next artist, to me, represents the best of the chilling and spiritual tradition of Southern Gothic music.

The American South is a beautiful and mystical place that is near to my heart.  Readers who are familiar with the beginnings of the LDS Church might notice a strain of folk mysticism that Joseph Smith grew up with, and I believe that in many ways those traditions were carried over in the American South.  It gives the whole South a spiritual feeling that can only be experienced here.  Some of you might listen to the more “traditional” LDS musician Michael R. Hicks, who writes lots of faith-based music, but fewer of you might be aware of his brother-in-law, Jeff Zentner, who, after a time in Nashville playing with Creech Holler, has been living and writing music near the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. [Read more…]

Nice to See It Published, But How Does It Affect Growth?

This guest post comes from frequent BCC reader Erich S.

An article about the LDS Church and its members appeared in the Financial Times last week. I have now received it from 5 independent sources, all LDS, and I can only assume you have either already read it or will receive it soon. While it is nice to see these kinds of articles giving us largely positive press, I believe they may also be problematic.
[Read more…]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 7

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time, we traveled the world musically through the New Age music of Oscar Aguayo, better known by his songwriting alias Australis. This time, we’ll continue with our theme of instrumental music, but move to the classical side with Jennifer Thomas. [Read more…]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 6

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time, I detailed the musical career of Gregg Hale, who played guitar for Spiritualized and currently serves the Salt Lake Area (and Linescratchers) as a writer, reviewer, engineer, studio owner, and guitarist.  Unfortunately, the next two artists I had lined up for #6 and #7 had to be changed.  One of them doesn’t want people to know he’s Mormon, and the other feels that God called him to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, so he has left the Church to pursue his own prophetic mission.  Too bad, because they’re both amazing musicians. [Read more…]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 5

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

Last time I talked about the spooky, yet technically proficient Halloween tunes of Kristen Lawrence.  Now we move to a friend of mine through Linescratchers, who is just as well known for what he’s done with our music scene (he has played and is playing with several well-known bands) as he is for what he’s put into it. [Read more…]


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