Prop 8 Redux: Afterthoughts

Without touching on any of the merits of one or the other side of the same-sex marriage/marriage equality debate, I’d like to suggest a possible answer to the following question: How can Mormons who feel that the Church is wrong about the threat gay marriage poses to families reconcile their doubts on this particular question with their faith in the restored gospel, and in the identity of Church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators? [Read more…]

On Fetuses, Babies, and Bathwater

Did you know that Senator Barack O-bortion Obama hates babies enough that he actually opposed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and even criticized the US Supreme Court Ruling which upheld the Act’s constitutionality?!?!?!?!!!

What if I told you that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act doesn’t do what you think it does… [Read more…]

General Conference Redux

It’s been, to be perfectly candid, quite some time since I really, really enjoyed a General Conference. [Read more…]

BCC Zeitcast 27

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Brad and Amri, listener questions, stream of consciousness…
Email recorded questions to

That Depends on What You Mean by “Christian”

Background: Alliance Defense Fund is like a conservative counterpart to the ACLU — basically a well-funded law firm with a socio-political agenda that operates in jurisdictions throughout the United States. [Read more…]

Death in the Family

Two weeks ago I watched a man die. [Read more…]

Personal Barometers of Institutional Apostasy (or, Your New Weekly Firestorm/Poll)

For those of us who consider ourselves to be believers in the basic claims of the Restoration and the authority claims of the LDS Church, I offer the following query:

In your opinion, what would constitute a signal that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had drifted into institutional apostasy? [Read more…]

BCC Zeitcast 24

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This week: Brad, John (Hamer), and Kristine podcast the old fashioned way — together, in the same room, gathered around a laptop and a low tech mic. The result: unmitigated hilarity. [Read more…]

BCC Snacker: Ann Arbor!

When: Friday, July 11 2008, 7:00 pm. [Read more…]

BCC Zeitcast 23

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This week: Brad, Amri, and Cynthia on the horrors of domestic violence, the value of reality TV, the fun of speculating about plural marriage, and the sheer, rapturous joy of Mormon blogging.
[Read more…]

The Parables of Jesus: Part 2, The Mustard Seed

After a long hiatus… [Read more…]

Cohabitation and Common-Law Marriage

Marriage is an important institution to the Church. [Read more…]

Memorial Day: The Costs of War and Those Who Bear Them

What follows are my thoughts for Memorial Day, generated in no small part from extended conversation and correspondence with a family member of mine this weekend. Jon (not his real name) is a veteran of the Iraq war. [Read more…]

The Parables of Jesus: Part 1, The Good Samaritan

What follows is the first of a series of posts on the parables of the gospels, an attempt on my part to approach these incredibly well-known and well-worn remnants of the Savior’s ministry in something of a new light. I plan to include commentary on such classics as the Mustard Seed, the Vineyard, the Unmerciful Servant, the Talents, and (today) perhaps the most famous and taken-for-granted of all, the Good Samaritan. [Read more…]

Messianic Prophecy and the Meaning of Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. Christians worldwide will commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a spring day sometime during the first half of what we have come to refer to as the first century of the Common Era. Much can be said here about the social, political, and historical context of what the Gospel accounts portray as a momentous (if ironically so) event. I propose a reading of this story* for which one particular element of the sociopolitical context is especially relevant: Jesus’ “triumphal” entry was not the only procession into Jerusalem that day. [Read more…]

A Biographical Overview of Recent LDS History

In our judgment, the ten most influential Mormons of the Twentieth Century.

What follows is an extraordinarily long collaborative post. [Read more…]

Snacker Potpourri

Announcing (following Steve’s lead) a bloggersnacker in Ann Arbor Michigan! [Read more…]

Revelation, Consensus, and (Waning?) Patience

The need to build consensus among the brethren is often cited as an important reason behind the belated reception of the 1978 revelation extending the blessings of priesthood and the temple to all worthy Church members. Indeed, rule by consensus has become a hallmark of the legacy of President Spencer W. Kimball. [Read more…]

Magic Underwear, Navel-Gazing…

Not to treat sacred things lightly, but could someone please explain to me how it is that when I buy a new pair of pristine white garments, for the first six months or so of wear they produce baby blue lint in my belly-button?

Courage to Disobey

Yesterday was the birthday of a brave Latter-day Saint hero. [Read more…]

Be Not Afraid

Recent discussion at BCC has reminded me of a powerful experience. I attended a fireside with my wife several years back at which President Hinckley spoke. He was sharply dressed (a light gray suit with a jet black tie and matching pocket-kerchief). I remember being somewhat surprised at his remarks, not because he said anything earth-shattering in itself, but because he seemed to deviate from his more typical folksy conventional wisdom at least topically, if not stylistically. [Read more…]

Hail to the Prophet!

“I am very much resigned to my lot knowing I am Justified and have done the best that could be done give my love to the children.”
Joseph Smith to Emma Smith, 27 June 1844

“Is it not better that the blood of two guilty wretches, whose crimes had long awaited the vengeance of Heaven, has been shed and thus by cutting off the fountain head to dry up the steam of corruption?”
Warsaw Signal, Editorial, 29 June 1844 [Read more…]

Thoughts on the Meaning of the Birth of Jesus

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? [Read more…]

The Most Important Work

I named and blessed my daughter on Sunday. [Read more…]

Of Myths and Men

As LDS we tend to be fairly uncomfortable with the concept of Myth. [Read more…]

Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity…

I attended an unusual wedding in the temple yesterday. [Read more…]

Soul Patch

Our guest, Brad Kramer, grew up (debatable verbiage) in Utah. He attended BYU, where he earned a degree in Russian, followed by a stint at the University of Utah where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in US History. He now resides with his family (wife, three sons, one newborn daughter) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he teaches Russian and is earning a PhD in Anthropology. He did his master’s research on late nineteenth-century Mormonism, focusing on the dynamics of conflict, accommodation, and transformation, with a case study on the founding of Rexburg, Idaho. Brad writes: “As an anthropologist I plan to study Christian conversion in post-Soviet states (I served a mission in Russia), from the perspective of sociolinguistics and Marxist theory. In addition to being a husband, father, Mormon, and academic, my other salient identities include mediocre musician, amateur chef, Hollywood liberal, and Capricorn.”

Brad will be guest posting with us for the next couple of weeks.

The post:

The following story is true. I have withheld the actual location of the stake in question, because I’d hate for my comments to be taken personally by any of the individuals involved; but the story is verifiable (for those interested in doing a little detective work) and really, actually took place: [Read more…]