From one birthday to the next — there but for the grace of God go we all:
Civil War in London. Unimaginable?
From one birthday to the next — there but for the grace of God go we all:
Civil War in London. Unimaginable?
No, 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...]
. . . do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again;
and your reward shall be great,
and ye shall be the children of the Highest . . .
Several years ago our family received one of the most interesting and long-lasting Christmas presents we have ever received from another family in the extended family’s Christmas exchange. The thoughtful family who had drawn our family’s name contributed a modest sum of money on our behalf to the microlending organization Kiva. The idea was that they supplied the money as a gift to us and it was up to us to choose recipients for microloans using that money. This has been a gift that keeps on giving as the loans get paid back and we then have the opportunity to lend that money again to other recipients of our choice. [Read more...]
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...]
BYU Studies has posted an understanding, helpful response today to the article in the New York Times (“Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt”) that has caused some stir in Mormon circles online over the weekend.
BYU Studies’ Editor-in-Chief, John W. Welch, notes that “BYU Studies may shed some important light on those subjects. While no one has all the answers to every question, the BYU Studies website, together with many other resources and publications, are now easily available to provide many well-researched and well-written treatments of topics of current interest. We invite people to familiarize themselves with this website. It may come in very handy.”
I really like the BYU Studies response and the selection of potential starting points for reading about certain historical issues offered there. Reading about and candidly discussing our history is the perfect response to this problem. [Read more...]
We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of the original Awkward Mormon Family Photos post, so it is time for a sequel. For each photo in the list, I make my case that the people in the photo are Mormon. In the comments, please provide your own ratings, evidences and rebuttals of the Latter-day Sainthood of the people in following images:
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...]
I was having dinner at Cynthia L’s house tonight, and she pointed out something that I’ve noticed as well: our Mormonism makes us more interesting to other people. People like inviting us to social events and chatting with us because we have that one weird thing that makes us distinct—a built-in conversation starter. “This is my friend Kyle…he’s a mormon!”
Of course, the chatting is easier lately, what with the “Mormon Moment” we’re enjoying. The stranger who just found out I’m mormon has a million ways to break the ice—BYU’s newly improved football visibility, the Broadway musical, the presidential candidate(s), the crazy polygamists, The Jimmer. The conversations can start in any number of ways, but they always seem to follow the same well-worn path:
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!
A friend of mine from college passed away this week, after a long struggle with cancer. Hers was a sad passing (she was way too young) and a happy one (she’s free from pain now). I have many fun memories of her, and though I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, we kept in touch somewhat over Facebook.
She’s one of my first acquaintances to pass away in The Facebook Era, and she embraced the technology. She shared her struggles with her 700 Facebook friends, and she posted pictures of herself as the treatments took her hair and the cancer took her vitality. Her Wall was full of her cheerfulness in the face of adversity. Her Wall has also been covered with prayers and well-wishes for months, giving us all insight into just how many lives this woman has touched.
I have witnessed closer friends suffer from similar diseases, but never from the same vantage point as Facebook offered.
Let me step back for a moment to say that this is not a pity post.
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, and #3.)
Question: “is it harder to be an lawyer or architect”
Answer: I’m going to throw this one to the audience. Please note that our audience consists almost entirely of lawyers (see posts here and here), and interpret the result accordingly.
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. #1 here, #2 here.
Question: “lds bishop ‘no more than two nights per week’”
Answer: Dear reader, No, being an LDS Bishop definitely takes more time than two nights per week. Typically, bishops will attend the weekly youth activity (Wednesday nights), then there are youth “firesides” (a kind of evening devotional, sometimes held at the church building and sometimes held in someone’s home) on many Sunday nights. Then there are the endless pastoral duties of meeting with individuals, couples and families in his office (couple nights a week) or visiting their homes. Just about the only night a Bishop is likely to have for his family (barring emergencies) is Monday night, which, by LDS tradition, everybody in the church reserves as “Family Home Evening” (brief scripture study/devotional, then board games and the like, then dessert). The church has perennial concern about the amount of time bishops, who are lay ministers with regular day jobs, spend in their service. Bishop’s wives, especially if they have young children, carry an enormous burden due to the frequent absence of their husbands (and of course children miss their dad). See BCC posts here and here.
Question: “is dry humping against law of chastity”
Answer: I’ll let our readers handle this one. [Read more...]
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...]
Welcome to a new series! The WordPress.com software that runs BCC tabulates detailed statistics on traffic to this site. One thing it shows is what search queries led readers to BCC each day. Aside from the usual top traffic terms (“bycommonconsent” “by common consent” etc), there are always miscellaneous surprises. Sometimes, these search queries can spark ideas for a post, because they afford a window onto the topics our readers are wondering about and what questions they have. For example, here is an issue that one of our readers needs guidance on:
is arby’s jamocha shake against word of wisdom
This press release from BYU caught my geeky eye:
The group of computer science students developed a Facebook app called “Relative Finder.”
Most other genealogical Facebook applications are based only on your living family and at best can connect you with third or fourth cousins. The Relative Finder app goes back an average of nine or ten generations because it connects to the genealogical information [in new FamilySearch].
It can even show you your relationship to famous historical figures like the signers of the Declaration of the Independence, apostles and prophets from the early days of the restored church, American presidents and many more.
The Washington Post has an interesting article about the church’s success with search-engine optimization, PR, and “controlling its image” online. There’s plenty of hyperbole in the article (have we really “infused SEO into [our] culture?” C’mon), some sloppy sourcing (of course a Protestant digital strategist says Mormons are taking over the web), and a misuse of the word “bloggernacle.”
But there were also some nuggets we can learn from, and plenty we should be discussing.
I enjoyed and was humbled by Aaron R.’s great post today about the London riots. We live in neighboring wards in London’s eastern outer boroughs so we have both experienced the riots first hand, though thankfully my particular neighborhood was not touched, though others in my ward were more affected. His post reminds me once more that he is a better man than I — and he’s a sociologist, so I understand the charitable and analytical place that his post is coming from. I am grateful for his good example! He reflects well on Latter-day Saints with this perspective. [Read more...]
Seriously: for the past two days, brandon davies has been a trending topic on Twitter. That means, in the entire worldwide Twittersphere, with violent upheavals in the Middle East, a new iPad announced, and Charlie Sheen redefining “radical,” Brandon Davies is one of the top 10 topics on Twitter.
This follows the ESPN story divulging Davies’ Honor Code violation: he had sex with his girlfriend. The chatter on Twitter is deafening and polarized, with SocialMention.com reporting that he’s getting tweeted about every 7 seconds. From what I can tell, half of the tweets are “Good for BYU,” and the other half are “Whaaaaa????”
In this episode, Scott B. and Matt Page continue the ominous & ghostly themes at BCC this week with a discussion of Bigfoot and UFOs in Mormon Folklore, evil music, a suspicious Culligan man, and all of the details of Matt’s life which–for various reasons–were missing from an article about Matt and his artwork in the Salt Lake Tribune a couple of weeks ago. Actually, they really just make fun of Brad Kramer for half an hour or so.
Links For Your Convenience:
All the hubbub around IBM’s new Jeopardy champ has stirred up talk in pop-futurist circles of the coming Singularity—the idea that one day humankind will create a machine that is intelligent enough to build an improved version of itself, which will then replicate and improve itself in the next generation, and so on until eventually humans are rendered obsolete.
Another vision of the Singularity is that human consciousness will somehow be “loaded” onto machines, freeing us from the bonds of biology and anatomy.
Last night, I gleefully skipped celebration of Valentine’s Day, in favor of sitting rapt in front of the television to watch Jeopardy! mega-winner (and longtime friend of BCC’s Police Beat Roundtable) Ken Jennings go up against IBM’s latest massively parallel Artificial Intelligence engine, Watson.
The Atlantic has dubbed their coverage of the matchup “Liveblogging the robot takeover or humanity’s finest hour,” and it is hard not to read this confrontation in such sweeping, maybe-apocalyptic terms. Especially when there’s a Mormon in the mix!
In my ongoing effort to
suck all the fun out of find greater satisfaction and connection from lived Mormonism (Step 1 was axing all pointless debates about immovable rocks), I began an experiment 4 weeks ago designed to force myself into higher levels of sociability and participation during Sunday meetings.
I left my iPhone home.
Many of you have perhaps witnessed the recent screed about email messages from a poor, confused brother at T&S, in which he decried the use of the Forward button as a tool of missionary work and gospel preaching. We at BCC Labs feel that, not only is this T&S perma misguided (as so many of them are), but that he has done significant harm to the souls of any who walk in darkness, because they know not where to find the light switch.
When Mormon women are asked how they can protect their families from pornography, a common reply is that the computer should be placed in the center of the room. The strategy is essentially that of Foucault’s panopticon. The assumption seems to be that the best way to protect families from pornography is to live in a bubble. But while placing a computer in the center of a room might have prevented children from going to certain websites ten years ago, we now live in the age of handheld devices. [Read more...]
While recently visiting a commercial website, I noticed the following advertisement prominently displayed on the homepage:
Two weeks ago, I got an email hinting at significant changes afoot in the Missionary Department of the Church. It referred to “a massive research/rebranding exercise” undertaken over the past year that has led to “some shocking and fascinating discoveries related to people’s perceptions of Mormons,” and a resulting new social media strategy centering on the relaunch of Mormon.org: a “progressive” approach that could “revolutionize” missionary work.
Yes, my hyperbole-meter immediately hit the red zone. But when it comes to institutional Mormonism I’m a sucker for all things progressive and revolutionary; plus, the email addressed me as an “influential blogger” and I certainly couldn’t fail in my duty. So despite cynical remarks from my fellow BCC permas (who were clearly envious), I agreed to attend a preview meeting designed to leverage feedback from the Mormon blogging community. At the appointed time (roughly) I settled into my seat at the JSMB, regarded the suited array of Bonneville/COB guys, and silently challenged them to impress me.
And they did. [Read more...]
This post comes from mmiles, who has posted earlier at BCC (here and here), and who appears to have unilaterally extended an invitation to guest post to her husband. The BCC Subcommittee on Guest Blogging Ethics has been convened and is considering formal disciplinary action.
Last night my wife and I went to bed by eleven, but didn’t fall asleep until well after midnight. It began with those subtle hints and gestures back and forth, as each of us tried to determine whether the other had the interest and energy to see it all the way through. But one thing led to another, passion and excitement surged, and we soon found ourselves in the throes of a heated Bible discussion. [Read more...]
I’m pleased to introduce you folks to a group blog that friends of mine in the Community of Christ and I have recently launched. I believe this is the first Community of Christ blog designed on the model of BCC and the many other venerable group sites of the Mormon bloggernacle. Like Times & Seasons, the Millennial Star, the Juvenile Instructor, and Keepapitchinin (among others), Saints Herald takes its name from a historic Latter Day Saint publication. Published continuously since 1860, the Community of Christ’s Herald periodical was originally entitled The True Latter Day Saints’ Herald and through most of its history was published as the Saints Herald.
Although it’s just getting started, I think there’s already a number of contributors who have posted on topics you may find of interest. [Read more...]
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...]
The title of this post is a blatant rip-off of Hugh Nibley’s The Rise of Rhetoric and the Decline of Everything Else. Nibley was working with a rather narrow definition of rhetoric and saw it simply as an insincere form of speech, what we today might call spin. It is my belief that the search function of the official Church website, combined with our native laziness, has brought about a decline in the quality of speaking and teaching in our meetings. [Read more...]