Sin Culture: part 2, how to change a toxic environment

The U.S. Armed Forces have a problem. Particularly since the advent of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the incidence of sexual assault within the armed forces is high. Perhaps more disturbing, the majority of these assaults are perpetrated by fellow soldiers. As this link indicates, in the middle 00s 6 of 10 women in the military were victims of sexual assault or harassment. [Read more…]

Sin Culture: Part 1, its creation and effects

A week or so ago, a friend directed me to this link. It discusses the notion of rape culture and, in particular, how bystanders may often be complicit in rape, even if it is never something they’d do themselves. The blog begins by linking to a video, which I’m going to summarize because most folks will find it very offensive (and as the link notes, it may be a trigger to victims of sexual assault (If you want to watch it, here is a link; the relevant portion is from 37:36-47:22)). [Read more…]

Monday Morning Theological Poll: Budding Sociopath Edition

Today’s edition is brought to you by the voices in your head *or* God, depending on your outlook, meds, or openness to revelation.

Justify your answers below, IF YOU CAN!

A Repost from the Onion’s September 11th edition

I just wanted to share with you the best thing I read about 9/11 in its aftermath. It is from the Onion. As you may know, the Onion often features language people around here find offensive. So I’m going to post a link to the original article, and the 9/11 edition, but I’m also going to post the text of the article (which contains no offensive language) here. I can’t attribute it, unfortunately, because I don’t know who wrote it. Please don’t sue me.

Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake
SEPTEMBER 26, 2001 | ISSUE 37•34
TOPEKA, KS—Feeling helpless in the wake of the horrible Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands, Christine Pearson baked a cake and decorated it like an American flag Monday. [Read more…]

The New Normal

When I was serving my mission in Russia, almost no-one I met had heard of the Mormons, but those who had had learned of us from a particular source. Leo Tolstoy? President Benson? or Premier Kruschev? No. Our mediator, it turned out, was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

A Study in Scarlet is the first Sherlock Holmes novel and most of the Russians I met were avid Holmes fans. Upon hearing our Mormon connection, they almost always cheered up. We were twice exotic, once for simply being Americans living amongst Russian, twice for belonging to a secretive, woman-kidnapping, polygamous cult. They were rarely interested in learning about the gospel, of course, but the Russian mindset is attracted to the grotesque and they hoped talking to us would provide an ample supply. Sadly, we more often than not disappointed them. [Read more…]

Monday Morning Theological Poll: Animal Agency Assessment Edition

For some people, it is important to suss out the following so they can eat some ribs.

Justify your vote in the comments below. Remember that the Lord relies on you to be a good steward for this environment.

Monday Morning Theological Poll: “We’ve Got (a) Spirit! Yes, We Do!” Edition

Today’s poll is a sort of repeat of the second of these ever posted. However, those poll results are lost to the ether and I don’t remember what I said and I don’t feel like reconstructing it from the comments. So, we have this instead. Enjoy.

Justify your vote below. We shall judge your intelligence(s)!

Monday Morning Theological Poll: Adamic Evolution Edition

A shorter poll this morning, because I’m not aware of very many options. If there are ones I’ve missed, state them in the comments and I’ll add them as options to the poll.

Please justify your vote in the comments below. Relying on your lizard brain is insufficient reason.

Monday Morning Theological Poll: “Are you there Heavenly Mother? It’s Me, BCC” Edition

This week, as promised, a poll about Heavenly Mother, the most famous God about whom we know nothing. The question is, in the absence of any information to speak of, whom do we think Heavenly Mother is.

[Read more…]

Monday Morning Theological Poll: Divine Destiny Edition

Today, we ask you your opinion of the end game for the righteous.

Please justify your answers in the comments below. Remember, angels are silent note-taking of every action, so choose what is right.

My Little Heresies, Part Four: Final Destination

[The post is a part of a series. Here links to the first, second, and third posts in the series]

In the gospel, direction matters more than distance. [Read more…]

My Little Heresies, Part Three: Everyone lives! Everyone lives!

[This is a part of a series. Part one is here, part two is here, part four is here.]

Often, when we talk about the Celestial Kingdom, we discuss it as if it is a very exclusive club. We all aspire to it, but many of us assume that we aren’t good enough to get in. That’s not a helpful or joyous approach, I think. Instead, I’m going to argue for the democratization of God’s realm. [Read more…]

My Little Heresies, Part Two: Repurposing Mortality

[This post is part of a series. Part one is here. Part three is here. Part four is here.]

This life is the time for this life. [Read more…]

My Little Heresies, Part One: Renovating the Afterlife

[Note one: This week I’m going to be putting up a short series of posts about things I believe that (I think) are outside the norm for Mormonism and why I believe them. YMMV (and I hope it does because otherwise this will be a boring series). Please understand that I am not actually interested in creating a new doctrine/church/calling-for-myself. I (obviously) think these ideas are interesting and therefore seek to foist them upon you. Believe at your own risk]

[Note two: I am totally stealing this from an aborted series by Ronan and I may abort it for the same reason. We’ll see.]

We have far too many heavens in Mormonism. [Read more…]

Jon Stewart and the Role of Intellectuals in Mormonism

I come today to bury Mormon intellectualism, not to praise it. [Read more…]

Ron Paul and Korihor: a comparison

Recently, I engaged in a brief facebook tiff regarding Representative Ron Paul (R*-Texas). I said that he was a demagogue (even though I didn’t know how to spell it). A couple of folks came to his defense arguing that he couldn’t be a demagogue, because a) the issues he cares about are issues that nobody knows about and b) he doesn’t have sufficient influence to be truly demagogic. Of course, both of these dudes (along with 80% of the online conservatives I know) promote Ron Paul endlessly, so perhaps they want him to become a demagogue? I’m uncertain.

What I can tell you is that their criticism inspired me to go out and read a Ron Paul book. I had a vague understanding of Ron Paul’s positions prior to reading his latest (Liberty Defined: 50 essential issues that affect our freedom). Unfortunately, after having read the book, my understanding continues to be vague. This isn’t entirely my fault [Read more…]

Who are you, really?

On the internet, Identity is an obsession. I started a different post with this idea a couple of weeks ago, but the intervening time has only demonstrated its accuracy. [Read more…]

I don’t have to be Mormon: A Mother’s Day Post

I grew up in Northern Florida, which is effectively Southern Georgia. In other words, I am Southern in the cultural sense, not just the geographical one. It is not the easiest thing to be Mormon in the South. [Read more…]

Thursday Morning “Wow, am I ever sick of this topic!” Poll

Folks, is your enjoyment of the bloggernacle at a bit of a low? Are you sick of rehashing all the same old topics over and over again? At BCC, we are striving to make your Mormon blogging experience more pleasurable by admitting that we are really very sick of these topics, too. If only there were some means (aside from self-discipline) to make us stop talking about things that we are tired of discussing.

Luckily, there is. [Read more…]

False dichotomies and Easter: a quick post, sorta

Quick, use up one of your twenty pageviews and read this article by David Brooks. Then go read this response by Andrew Sullivan.

We all back? Good. Brooks is right that most of the folks in Africa (and elsewhere) who join religious movements join because of the creeds promoted, not in spite of them. Sullivan, on the other hand, is correct that we apply our human reason to any particular set of creeds, using that act to determine if they are appropriate for our belief (There is a reason folks go church shopping). So, while I believe that they are both right, I also believe that they are both wrong. They are setting up a false choice between rational and miraculous belief. As a Mormon, I get to believe in both types. We believe that God tells us the truth via our hearts and our minds. So, while both Brooks and Sullivan appear to believe that casual dismissal of Mormonism is de rigueur, Mormonism actually resolves the false dilemma their two approaches create.

Why on Easter? Because we, as Mormons, actually believe that Christ did something rationally impossible. He rose from the dead on the third day, ascended to His Father, and created the means for our return. That doesn’t make us unique (plenty of Christians believe the same), but it does mean that our faith derives from some miraculous moment (in our own experience and in historical experience). At the same time, we derive further meaning from that moment (and many like it) to determine how to live on earth. The derivation of law from experience is the very heart of rationalism. There is no contradiction, really, between the two, or rather, they exist in apparent contradiction, but aren’t, really. We have a Moebius strip of a religion, folks. That’s what gives it power and that is what allows it to appeal to the rational, the irrational, the conservative, the liberal, the fundamentalist, and the revisionist. Christ’s message is to all people; He died & He is Risen.


Do Be Do Be Doooooo…

On the internet, identity is an obsession. Because we are primarily only acquainted with one another through words, there is an opportunity (and, perhaps, a tendency) to mislead others about ourselves. Our facebook pictures are from the most flattering angles; our political and religious tendencies more firm. Knowing this about ourselves, we tend to also be suspicious of others. Praise and sarcasm are easily distinguished in real life; online you never really know. Therefore, we try to establish a context for what is written online by establishing a relationship with other participants or, failing that, by trying to discern where they are coming from. Are they Libertarian, Progressive, Indie Rock, Country Strong, Molly Mormon, or Andy Anti? Establishing these identities can allow us to create the body language, tone of voice, and other non-verbal aspects of language that are absent in online communication, allowing us to create a context for interpreting comments.

This is dangerous. [Read more…]

Why being a “Guardian of Virtue” is a terrible metaphor

I know it has been a couple of weeks, but I only just now read the talk given by President Elaine Dalton of the General Young Women’s Presidency in their annual meeting. The talk boils down to an admonition to be chaste and virtuous, both of which are good things. So, I am not here today to tell you the message of the talk is bad; I am here today to tell you that the way in which that message is conveyed is bad, distorting the message itself. [Read more…]

Leaping to conclusions or asking rational questions?

So last week, I started listening to a new podcast. Slate’s Hang Up and Listen podcast features three sports reporters and their topic last week was, amongst other things, the Brandon Davies situation (already much discussed elsewhere at BCC). I’d like you to follow the link and listen to the Davis segment before continuing onward; don’t worry, I’m patient. [Read more…]

Cave Dwellers

I’ve recently been reading Room by Emma Donoghue, which has harrowing subject matter and the cutest little narrator ever.Room by Emma Donoghue Specifically, it is told from the viewpoint of a 5 year old boy who has lived in one room all his life (I won’t say why, you can read the book for that). He’s with his mother and he has access to television and books, but he has never left the room.

Every object in the room is capitalized and, according to the boy, is particular. In other words, he doesn’t use a dresser or walk on the rug; he puts his clothes in Dresser and he walks on Rug. The constant contact gives him a hyper-real sense of these objects, treating them as if they are the only ones in the world. He knows a bit about the outside world (he does have a television after all), but none of it approaches the immediacy of Room (and the near-rhyme with “womb” (especially in a child’s voice) must be intentional). [Read more…]

Remembering the captivity of our fathers: A Rant

Today was High Council Sunday in our sacrament meeting. Our ward is going on trek come summer. If you know me, you know that I am not a fan of trek, but that I generally just ignore it.

The high councilor’s speaking companion said, “I know that those noble pioneers suffered what they went through in order to inspire the youth of today.” Martyrdom ain’t what it used to be, folks! [Read more…]

Exercise and its discontent

I run. Intermittently, but I do run. I ran a marathon a few years ago and I’m training to run another one in June (Utah Valley Marathon, if you are interested). I’m not always certain that this is a good thing. [Read more…]

Elder Holland and the Adversity Gap: A Modesty Proposal

Recently, I read Elder Holland’s talk from the October 2010 General Conference. Entitled “Because of Your Faith,” Elder Holland describes the sacrifices and support that has been offered to him personally and to the Church generally and says thank you. It is a heart-felt act of gratitude for the many people who serve in the church; specifically, gratitude for the many people who serve in the church in the Mormon corridor today and therein lies the rub. [Read more…]

The Value of Shame in Mormonism

First of all, go and read a short article at the New York Times. You can find it here.

All done? Good. Here is my question:

Whom should this article shame? [Read more…]

The point is…?

Earlier today, someone asked me to sum up what the meaning of the Old Testament is for Mormons. Okay, he didn’t just ask me, but I was included (I think). Anyhoo, I wrote this:

God is complicated. Way more complicated than you think. Sometimes he makes requests that seem morally wrong. We don’t know why. Sometimes he has humans do seemingly ridiculous and useless things. We don’t know why. Sometimes he intervenes in human events and sometimes he doesn’t. We don’t know why. The one thing that we can know with certainty is that God loves us (we don’t know why).

This, of course, leads me to ask you the same question. Oh BCC readers, what do you think the meaning of the Old Testament is for Mormons? You’ve been sitting through classes on it for a year now, so I assume you have some notion of what it said to you. Please share below. If I like your answers, I’ll write my post about why Scott is wrong about everything. There’s your incentive there.

God does not particularly care about your civil liberties

I’ve recently been embroiled in a debate regarding the value of the thoughts of Cleon Skousen. My debate partner, citing the endorsement that President McKay gave Bro. Skousen’s work, The Naked Communist, in the Friday session of the 1959 General Conference (I’d post a direct link to the address, but the only place I can find it without loads of commentary is at and I can’t link directly to it there), feels that Bro. Skousen and his works should be given a modicum of respect. Not that they should be treated as scripture or anything, but things that the Brethren mention positively should be paid attention to. I, on the other hand, think Skousen was crazy and can, therefore, be safely ignored. [Read more…]