Big Love Report

So I’m watching the end of the Jets v. Steelers game last night, and it’s about 8:50 p.m., when I realize I’ve missed the second episode in Big Love’s new and final season. But then it dawns on me that HBO repeats the new episodes immediately at 9:00 p.m., so I was able to watch it. (The first episode last week was mainly about all the blowback the family experienced after Bill publicly admitted to being a polygamist.) There were four aspects to this episode that I found particularly interesting, which I wanted to highlight here. (Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen the episode yet and is still planning on it.) Also, please note that my characterization is based on my hazy memory, I don’t have a transcript to consult or anything like that. [Read more...]

Movie(s) Review: Veggie Tales! Veggie Tales!

They’re a little “loud” for my taste (I prefer a more Mr. Rogersesque vibe in my children’s media), but I have to admit, they’re pretty entertaining and they do a good job of teaching scripture stories.

I haven’t found any material or lessons I find objectionable, and many have surprised me with how much I appreciate the lessons taught. For example, An Easter Carol confronts the evils of consumerism and commercialization of sacred holidays, without going so far into zealotry the other direction that it makes me uncomfortable. Madame Blueberry is a full frontal assault on the idea that material things make us happy, even not-so-subtly sending up Wal-Mart. And Sweetpea Beauty is a perhaps cliche, but still much needed, reminder for girls that beauty on the inside is what matters. [Read more...]

The Illuminated Matsby, Vol. 11

Another Image of Faith and Devotion

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Music for Advent

Same text, new music-

Gabrieli

Palestrina

Byrd

What I Wish I Had Said (II)

So, yeah, I’m lousy at the extemporaneous thing.  In this Zeitcast, I only forgot to say the most important thing–WHY it matters whether our congregational and choral singing is good.  Here’s why:

1) Singing is the closest we get to understanding what an exalted body might be like and what it might be for.

2) Singing together, especially as a choir that works hard, but also as a congregation that sings enthusiastically, is the best approximation of Zion we have. [Read more...]

BCC Zeitcast 61: MoTab Has Its Moments

In this episode, Scott B. listens in while Kristine Haglund and Nicholas S, aka Latter-day Guy, get their musical geek on. First, Nicholas and Kristine share some highlights and lowlights of their LDS music experiences. Later, the group discusses ways to improve music in LDS settings and opine on their favorite and most hated LDS songs.


Links for your convenience:
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Music for Advent

Old (Cristobal de Morales) * and new (Pierre Villette) again. See here for text.

*Here’s another recording, problematic in different ways. (I’ll turn you all into choral music critics yet!)

Music for Advent

(I’ve stopped counting :))

For this week, a single text:

O magnum mysterium, [Read more...]

Home Waters A review of George Handley’s new book

The Provo River has been entangled in my life from the beginning. I was born a few hundred yards from its shady cottonwood-lined flow. I met my wife during a student ward party at the Canyon Glen Park on the banks of the Provo. I know it better than any river. [Read more...]

Music for Advent XI

You already know I love Mendelssohn’s motets.  His Sechs Sprüche for various occasions in the liturgical calendar are short pieces for 8-part choir.  I love them for lots of reasons, not least the recurrent use of my second-favorite German word “frohlocken.”  (My very favorite is “Wonne”.  I know you were wondering.)  This video has good notes, with translations and links to the other five (of which my very favorite is Am Neujahrstage, in case you were wondering).

Review: Joseph Smith, Jesus & Satanic Opposition

Douglas J. Davies, Joseph Smith, Jesus and Satanic Opposition: Atonement, Evil and the Mormon Vision (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).  292pp., inc. index, bibliography, textual references. Paperback: £16.99, ISBN: 978-1-4094-0670-9.

Davies argues that Mormonism’s force as a religion is intelligible through a relational trinity (Jesus, Satan and Joseph Smith) evoked in three paradigmatic scenes: the Grand Council, Gethsemane and the Sacred Grove.  This intelligibility makes Mormonism Plan of Salvation both accessible and appealing.  Davies’ attempts to speak to and through a form of Mormonism which is now fading, or at least shifting, gives this text a liminal quality.  He attributes some of the major shifts in LDS ecclesiology and theology to the reconfiguration of this trinity.  And yet, despite being focussed upon Mormonism’s past, his book sensitises members of the Church, and interested observers, to those changes currently occurring. [Read more...]

Connection Through Disconnection

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.
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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...]

New Church Newsroom Beta Site

Today, the LDS Church launched a new beta Newsroom Website. As can be seen by clicking on the screen shots below, the difference between the two sites is quite remarkable, with considerable changes in content, format, functionality, and color scheme.

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Missing It

A brief list of things that I missed because I was on a mission from 1994-1996:

* Steve Young (and the 49ers) winning the Superbowl.

* The Atlanta Braves winning the World Series (this has made me indifferent to baseball, when I used to be passionate about the Braves)

* The University of Florida football team becoming National Champions under Steve Spurrier (note: these were my three favorite sports franchises at the time of my mission)

* The Arrival of Jim Carrey (I missed the first Ace Ventura movie, Dumb and Dumber, and the Mask)

* The Death of Grunge Music (I heard Nevermind, Ten, a couple more singles and that’s about it)

* The entire O.J. Simpson trial (I heard about the day he was chased and the day he was acquitted, nothing else)

* Laserblast *snif*

For a while, when I got home I felt a real need to catch up on pop culture. I watched Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump in one sitting. But some holes got filled in whether I investigated them or not. I now know who Judge Ito and Kato Kaelin are. However, when I’ve watched the early Jim Carrey stuff, it’s never caught on. Maybe you had to see it with friends in a theater for it to make an indelible impression.

So, what did you miss? Do you feel the lack? How did you catch up?

EMAIL!

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.
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The Illuminated Matsby, Vol. 9

Another Image of Faith and Devotion

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BCC Zeitcast 56: Publicity, Advertising, & the New Mormon.org

In this episode of the BCC Zeitcast, Scott B. is joined by Kyle M, a frequent guest blogger at BCC and a professional from the world of advertising and marketing, for a conversation about the recently publicity campaign the LDS Church has undertaken through Mormon.org. Download this episode here or subscribe to the BCC Zeitcast in iTunes. (And don’t forget to leave a rating/review in iTunes!)


Links for your convenience:
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Thursday Afternoon Spiritual Artwork Poll

Feast your eyes upon the artwork below, and then tell us: Which one evokes the most powerful spiritual feelings.


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Why placing the computer in the living room doesn’t work

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...]

Religious Art: Judas’ Kiss

Paul Lisak (1967-present), ‘Judas’ Kiss’, Oil on Linen.

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Real polygamist housewives

So last week when Judge Walker issued his decision overturning Prop. 8, one of my friends posted as her status update, “Is polygamy next?” I didn’t know if she was being silly or sincere, but if any of you all are wondering the same thing, let me reassure you: No. Polygamy is not next. That’s just something we conservatives make up to scare people. Ha ha, that was a joke (sort of). You know how I know polygamy isn’t next? Because unlike attitudes toward homosexuals, attitudes toward polygamists haven’t improved much in the last hundred years. Most people have at least one friend or someone in their family who is gay, but not many people know any polygamists. Also, when was the last time you saw a movie or TV show character with a sassy polygamist friend? Never, that’s when. And you’re not likely to start anytime soon. (Not until someone options my screenplay, that is.) [Read more...]

Movies, Mormonism, and Meaning

I’m going to start this off with a couple of Nike commercials that I watch on Youtube when I am trying to motivate myself. No endorsement of Nike (or YouTube) is implied. [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...]

Monday Night Lived Mormonism Poll: R-rated Movie Spirituality Edition

If yes, can you provide specific examples? If no, what specifically leads you to believe that this is the case?

Bookmark By Common Consent

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.
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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...]

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...]

Religious Art: ‘Have Pity!’

Ernst Barlach (1870-1938), ‘Have Pity!’, 1919; private collection.

Ernst Barlach’s small wood-carving struck me deeply when I first saw a photo-print of the statue in Gombrich’s ‘The Story of Art’.  The old, bony hands of this woman extended beneath a seemingly coarse and debasing covering intensely expresses the suffering and pain of the lives of too many people on this earth.  [Read more...]

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