Nothing Common, or Why Peter Would Have Been Your BFF

We are pleased to have Brooke, from ExpertTextperts, return as our guest.

I was reading the book of Acts (because when your religion class is Christian History it’s still more a religion class than a history class, and also why would you ask that?), or as my favorite apostle, Jeffrey R. Holland, has affectionately renamed the book: “The Acts of the Resurrected Christ Working through the Holy Spirit in the Lives and Ministries of His Ordained Apostles.” (See Acts 1)

Anyway, as I was saying—I was reading the book of Acts in the 10th chapter. [Read more…]

MHA undergraduate and graduate student papers awards submission

The following call for submissions comes to us by way of John Sillito, the Mormon History Associations awards chair for student papers.
[Read more…]

Catholicism and Advent

We are pleased to have the bloggers from experttextperts as our guests over the next few weeks.

Brooke is a blogger at Expert Textperts who tricked a pretty smart guy into marrying her a couple of years ago. She is a Spanish Education major at BYU – Idaho and currently holds more jobs than is considered normal or socially acceptable.

This semester at BYU – Idaho, I took a class on Catholicism in the Hispanic world. We spent a large portion of the semester studying the religion and rites, and the remainder watching movies about Catholic figures (The Mission and Romero—both of which I would highly recommend) as well as hearing and/or giving presentations on aspects of the religion that I just didn’t know or hadn’t thought of before. While I still think some of the things that Catholics do can be a little weird, like keeping fingers once belonging to saints, I have found my own faith strengthened by a few Catholic practices, like Holy Week and the stories of various saints. [Read more…]

From Mitt to Musicals: A Mormon Moment Postmortem

We are pleased to have the bloggers from experttextperts as our guests over the next few weeks.

I, Casey Walrath, graduated from BYU with a BA in History in 2010 and, finding that my degree is underappreciated in the job market, currently work in IT while blogging on the side. I’ve been married to my wife (and co-blogger) Brooke for just over two years. We currently live in Idaho while she finishes school. My primary goal at this point is to not live in Idaho or Utah longer than necessary. 

Now that the Mormon Moment has subsided (at least until Tagg 2020), I’ve been thinking about what it all meant. What did the spotlight do for us as Mormons? What did it do to us? Webster’s dictionary defines “moment” as “the expected value of a power of the deviation of a random variable from a fixed value,” and like many of you, I have indeed felt moments of power, value, and deviation over the last five or six years. In the interest of sorting things out, I’ve written a stray few observations for public benefit to help us all grasp what “The Mormon Moment” was about. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning One Miracle at a Time Session

Welcome to Sunday Morning session of the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also, I am a Mormon, and I love it. [Read more…]

Saturday Afternoon Anticlimactic Nothing Will Compare to Saturday Morning Session Session

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf conducts. [Read more…]

Taysom and Park: Welcome

We are pleased to announce two stellar individuals to our ranks of contributors here at By Common Consent. They are both veteran authors and are familiar to many, not least because of their writing over at the Juvenile Instructor. And don’t worry, they will continue to write for the JI while simultaneously offering their cogent insights on more general topics here. Welcome aboard: [Read more…]

Silence, Taboo, and Power: Kramer at UVU, September 19

Title: Keeping the Sacred: Silence, Taboo, and Power in LDS Discourse.

Date: September 19, at 11 am, room 206c of the Sorensen Student Center on the Utah Valley University campus in Orem, Utah.

Description: [Read more…]

For Those Who Wonder

An online petition recently posted at a site with a domain name similar to BCC’s is not associated with this blog or any BCC permabloggers. We take no position regarding their objectives, and we regret that they have attempted to draw traffic by creating confusion.

General Conference: The Steve Evans Memorial Saturday Morning Open Thread

Welcome to the BCC Saturday Morning General Conference Thread, as part of By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 182nd Semi-Annual General Conference! We will be providing you with near-continuous live commentary, and other goodies throughout the weekend’s activities.  We also encourage you to (if you’re not already doing so) watch Conference live, streaming from

And, here in SLC, where it’s sunny and ridiculously gorgeous weather in preparation for Winter’s arrival tomorrow…

First Presidency is on the stand, the choir is in fuschia/magenta/orchid pink, Wilberg conducting High on the Mountain Top.

President Uchtdorf conducting.

Welcome from President Monson, “no unhallowed hand…”

You Can Make the Pathway Bright–can’t decide if this is the moment to deploy the one snarky musical comment I’ve allotted myself for this session.

President Packer–“These children of whom I speak represent all of our Heavenly Father’s children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord…”

“The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood.”

“Many times I have puzzled over why I should be called as an Apostle and then as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve in spite of having come from a home where the father could be termed less active. I am not the only member of the Twelve who fits that description. Finally, I could see and understand that it may have been because of that circumstance that I was called. And I could understand why in all that we do in the Church we need to provide the way for parents and children to have time together as a family. Priesthood leaders must be careful to make the Church family friendly.”

“There are many things about living the gospel of Jesus Christ that cannot be measured by that which is counted or charted in records of attendance.” (!!)

Sister Cheryl Esplin–“Teaching Our Children to Understand”
I like the pairing of President Packer talking about learning from our children with this admonition to teach children.

Nice story about prayer with Ashley. I always told my kids they weren’t allowed to pray for their siblings’ repentance :)

“The divine privilege of raising our children is a much greater responsibility than we can do alone without the Lord’s help.”

“Sometimes the most powerful way to teach our children to understand a doctrine is to teach in the context of what they are experiencing right at that moment.”

“We can know our children are beginning to understand the doctrine when we see it revealed in their attitudes and actions without external threats or rewards. As our children learn to understand gospel doctrines, they become more self-reliant and responsible. They become part of the solution to our family challenges and make a positive contribution to the environment of our home.”

I really like this emphasis on children’s development, and the respect for them as real humans!

Elder Hallstrom is cribbing from Gene England :)

Elder Paul Koelliker:

[missionaries] are a powerful, persevering force for good, which is having a profound effect on their lives and upon those who are touched by their service.”

Missionary experience [can] be applied as a template for nurturing others throughout the rest of their lives.

Awakening the desire to know enables our spiritual capacities to hear the voice of heaven.
When we actually live the gospel in the pattern taught by Jesus Christ, our ability to help others increases.

Seeking the patterns leads us to the doctrine of Christ as taught by the Savior and His prophets.

The ultimate means by which we can enjoy the gift and power of the Holy Ghost…is our LOVE for Christ and our fellow man.

The Savior defined the pattern of love…

The Father’s plan designated the pattern of the family organization to help us learn, apply and understand the power of love.

There is seemingly no end to the expansive capacity to love.

Elder Oaks: The incomprehensible suffering of Jesus Christ ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood, but it did not end the importance of sacrifice in the gospel plan. Our Savior continues to require us to offer sacrifices, but the sacrifices he now commands are that we “offer for a sacrifice unto [Him] a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 9:20)

“Many Christians have voluntarily given sacrifices motivated by faith in Christ and the desire to serve Him. Some have chosen to devote their entire lives to the service of the Master. This noble group includes those in the religious orders of the Catholic Church and those who have given life-long service as Christian missionaries in various Protestant faiths. Their examples are challenging and inspiring…”

But Mormons sacrifice a lot in lay ministry, missionary work, sacrifices of conversion, temple service, and tithing and offerings and volunteering.

“Such examples strengthen all of us.”

“I also see unselfish Latter-day Saints adopting children, including those with special needs, and seeking to provide foster children the hope and opportunities denied them by earlier circumstances. I see you caring for family members and neighbors who suffer from birth defects, mental and physical ailments, and the effects of advancing years. The Lord sees you also, and He has caused his prophets to declare that “as you sacrifice for each other and your children, the Lord will bless you.” (ETB, 1988)

Just as the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is at the center of the plan of salvation, we followers of Christ must make our own sacrifices to achieve the destiny that plan provides for us.

Elder Eyring: Mountains to Climb

There seems to me no better answer to the question of why trials come and what we are to do than the words of the Lord Himself, who passed through trials for us more terrible than we can imagine: “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.”

President Monson has also wisely taught that a foundation of faith in the reality of those promises takes time to build. …My purpose today is to describe what I know of how we can lay that unshakeable foundation.

Building lasting foundations for buildings was hard work [when I was young]. It also required patience.

In a similar way, the ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms that will come into every life. That solid basis for a foundation of faith is personal integrity.

Choosing the right consistently creates the solid ground under our faith. Those choices, hundreds in most days, prepare the solid ground on which our edifice of faith is built.

One of the keys to an enduring faith is judging correctly the curing time required. The curing does not come automatically through the passage of time, but it does take time. Getting older does not do it alone. It is serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.

Kristine on C-SPAN

Kristine CSPAN

Kristine and on CSPAN.

Watch on and discuss below.

New Prayer App

Shawn Tucker is a Latter-day Saint scholar who teaches Humanities in North Carolina at Elon University as well as teaching Institute (until the CES finds out who they have allowed to teach impressionable minds). He has an article in the Spring edition of Dialogue and he made this picture…

[Read more…]

Two events in Seattle, February 26-27, Masonry and death conquest

Samuel Brown, BCC perma and author of In Heaven as It Is On Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death, will be in Seattle the weekend of February 26-27, giving two talks.

On Saturday, Sam will speak at Molly Bennion’s home in the 98112 zip code in Seattle at 7pm on February 25. The subject for the evening will be “Investigating Mormon Masonry.” [Read more…]

Announcing a new blogger: Jacob Baker!

BCC is thrilled to announce that Jacob Baker has agreed to join us as a permablogger. Jacob is a doctoral student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University, and currently teaches philosophy at BYU and Utah Valley University. He thinks quipping is an art, doesn’t tweet, and does not have a favorite food. He wants to be like Steven Peck when he grows up.

In lieu of a hearty welcome, please send flowers to Steve Evans.

Mormon Women Project: Salon 2011 this Weekend

This Saturday, November 5th at 6:00pm, the Mormon Women Project is hosting a fundraiser at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in SLC, with the theme: “Crafting A Deliberate Life: Making Choices That Are Purposeful, Personal and Powerful”.

It promises to be a tremendous evening — here is the schedule and speakers (further info here):

Keynote Address: Emma Lou Thayne, Author and Poet [Read more…]

Friday Awards Show #1

Slim pickings in the nominees, folks. So slim, in fact, that there are no winners. We could only find one nominee for the Best and Worst Comment awards that met all the criteria, so these will roll over to next week!

New Flunking Sainthood Contest

In conjunction with Jana Reiss’ new book, Flunking Sainthood, we’re pleased to offer a new contest: storytelling. We want to hear your stories of when you’ve been honest about who you really are at Church. Says Jana, “I would like our contest to be for people to tell stories of times they allowed themselves to be really vulnerable and candid in a church setting — both positive and negative stories.” [Read more…]

Because, Dear Readers, We Love You

As part of BCC’s ongoing quest for World Domination, we feel the need to recognize a vital part of what makes blogging fun and what makes BCC a great place to hang out: YOU!

If you’re a follower of our Facebook Page or Twitter feed (and if you’re not, then please get with the program!), then you’re already aware of a new feature, which we hope will become a fun and exciting part of the regular programming here at BCC. Starting next week, BCC will be dishing out two awards every other Friday (unless we forget or get burned out or something), one for the Best Comment of the Week and one for the Worst Comment of the Week. Now, before you start penning your acceptance speeches, there are a few guidelines to be aware of. [Read more…]

Come, Follow #ldsconf

It’s that Semi-Annual time of year again, and the rumors of an announcement regarding the 2-hour block have reached a fever-pitch.

It's not like they're mutually exclusive options...

BCC’s coverage of the 181st Semi-Annual General Conference kicked off with President Beck last weekend. This weekend, settle in with a casserole dish of funeral potatoes and a bowl of Jell-O salad while J. Stapley, John C., and Scott B. spoon-feed The Only True and LivingTM conference coverage: Live-blogging, tweeting (#ldsconf), Facebook (guaranteed to all be Top Stories!), and analysis of the proceedings throughout the weekend. As always, free babysitting will be provided, courtesy of Times & Seasons.

What you need to know:

1. Live-blogging, with BCC perma commentary, photos, and open threads for all sessions here at By Common Consent, starting about about 30 minutes before each session.

2. Twitter Updates throughout the weekend at Use the #ldsconf hash tag on Twitter for more (albeit inferior) updates from the Twittersphere.

3. Commentary, quotes, and photos on Facebook. Be sure to “Like” or Subscribe to BCC’s Facebook page in order to access this new area of coverage! [Read more…]

Claremont Call For Papers

From our friends at Claremont, a new call for papers on a highly engaging topic —

Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association
Biennial Student Conference
Call for Papers

Laying Up Treasure: Mormons in the Marketplace

March 30–31, 2012

Claremont Graduate University

[Read more…]

Announcing a new blogger: B Hodges!

We’re really excited that Blair Hodges has agreed to join us as a permablogger here at BCC. The work at both his solo blog, Life on Gold Plates, and at Faith-Promoting Rumor has been tremendous, and we feel lucky to have him aboard. It’s no secret that his book reviews are among the best in the business.

Everyone be sure to wish him a hearty welcome and don’t forget to pass judgment on his sketchy beard!

Top Ten Gospel Mysteries Solved via Time Travel

(As determined by the BCC permas)

  1. Who changed the first baby’s first diaper–Adam or Eve?
  2. What did Jesus write in the sand that one time?
  3. Did McClellen steal the blankets?
  4. Crickets and Seagulls….fact or fiction?
  5. Was Eliza pushed, or did she jump?
  6. Was Balaam’s ass really the talkinest darn thing you ever saw?
  7. Um, dinosaurs?
  8. Is NDBF Gary’s name correct?
  9. How bald was Elisha, exactly?
  10. Robot crow?

[Read more…]

Sunday Afternoon General Conference: Like Satellite Stake Conference, but More General

Welcome back to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 181th Annual General Conference, live from Meridian, Idaho! Don’t forget to check out our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter in addition to coverage on the blog. We also encourage you to (if you’re not already doing so) watch Conference live, streaming from


BHodges here. Welcome to the final session of conference. As is customary I’ll be adding some comments in the main body of the post during each talk. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning General Conference: One Session To Rule Them All

Welcome back to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 181th Annual General Conference, live from Panguitch, Utah! Don’t forget to check out our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter in addition to coverage on the blog. We also encourage you to (if you’re not already doing so) watch Conference live, streaming from


The first waffles are about to hit the iron, so let’s get this party started…

Good Morning! Sunday morning session currently being kicked off with Music and the Spoken Word, the 4255th performance of the 82-year-old broadcast. During this morning’s performance, Lloyd Newell’s comments included an excerpt from Harvard professor Clayton Christiansen’s talk to a graduating business school class, How Will You Measure Your Life? [Read more…]

BCC Papers 6/2, Weeks, The Last Days of Joseph Smith

Full paper here.

Zebulun Q. Weeks, The Last Days of Joseph and Hyrum Smith: A Chronology (Introduction)

But heroic like demi-gods they firmly trod the road to death and glory

-Dan Jones [Read more…]

The Revolution Will Be Tweeted

Melissa De Leon Mason is a BCC blogger emerita and a scholar of political science and international studies. We’ve missed her fondly while she was living in Egypt. Now she kindly shares with us her view on the currently turmoil in that country.

It was a familiar sight to me. Dozens of men standing silently in a straight line, then bending to their knees, rising again, kneeling, their foreheads touching the ground. I had witnessed it a hundred times before in Cairo. Patrons in the markets, shopkeepers outside their storefronts, security guards and bawaabs behind their huts, all stopping whatever they happened to be doing when the muezzin began the call from the local minaret and performing the salaat, the ritual Islamic prayer. Watching it on Al-Jazeera English earlier today, it almost looked normal. But the kneeling men were not only facing Mecca, they were also facing crowds of uniformed riot police who watched as the men rose at the end of their prayers. And then with loud cracks, chaos one again erupted as tear gas canisters were fired into the crowd. [Read more…]

Idaho Mormons: Handgun Justification Edition

A BCC reader writes:

“A friend up in Idaho can get a handgun IF he is able to find a quote from a modern day prophet/leader that grants/encourages/blesses such an act (in order to appease his wife). Can the bloggernacle find such a quote?”

Go forth, bloggernaclers! Let us work to arm this faithful brother! [Read more…]

Silver Award for Mormon Women’s History

The Mormon History Association (MHA) is pleased to announce a new award for 2011. The Silver Award for Mormon Women’s History will be awarded for an outstanding article published in 2010 on the history of Mormon women in the 19th and 20th centuries. This award includes a prize of $350. All submissions must be sent electronically (as either a Word or PDF document) to subcommittee chair Sheree Bench at Submissions should include a cover sheet detailing the author’s name, contact information, affiliation, etc. Submissions must be received by February 15, 2011, to be considered. Awards will be presented at the MHA annual meeting in St. George, Utah, in May 2011. The Silver Award is sponsored by the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team (MWHIT) and funded by the Silver Foundation. Third party submissions are welcome.

BCC’s Thanksgiving Day Mega-Post

By Common Consent wishes a Happy Thanksgiving to all of those who share and participate in this wonderful community. In celebration of a holiday characterized by a table overflowing with countless delicious and diverse culinary creations, we offer you a selection of Thanksgiving-themed contributions from our authors. Whether you crave cranberries or haiku, music or football, there is something here for everyone. Enjoy!

From Steve Evans

Thanks to all of our readers and friends. You are the reason we maintain this site. We don’t always show it, but we love our BCC community. I’m profoundly grateful for all of you. Yes, even Aaron.

[Read more…]

BCC Hive: Infant Salvation

Please help our man in Vienna: [Read more…]