Church Stance on Birth Control, Public and “Private”

Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA), the Church's insurance company, does not cover prescriptive contraception, for any reason that relates to ("voluntary") contraception. That is, any Church employee or covered spouse (including BYU employees) that wants contraception requiring a prescription must pay for it entirely out of pocket. The only exceptions for this relate to the physical (not mental) health of the woman: endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc. Postpartum depression is not a … [Read more...]

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Desire

Michel Foucault traces the West's shift in concern from sexual acts to sexual desires to second-century Greek thought, a shift which was fully embraced and completed by Christianity, in his series, The History of Sexuality.  This transition to concern for desires, the interrogation of desires, the confession of desires, and the hermeneutics of desire inform the modern conceptualization of the self, specifically the idea that our desires, when they are properly known to us through the act of … [Read more...]

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Mormon Halacha and Common Law

In kosher law, wine is only kosher when it has been produced and handled by Jews. In this way this kosher law is distinctive from the LDS "Word of Wisdom" in that it is not about the substance of the drink, but how it is handled. There is one exception to this rule, however. If the wine produced by Gentiles is boiled, it becomes kosher. On its face, there is no logical principle why boiling the wine would render it ritually clean, but that is not the point. Rather, the point is that the law is … [Read more...]

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From Missionaries to Salesmen

While trying to put together some posts, a colleague sent me an interesting article in The New York Times about Mormon young men selling for Pinnacle Security. Having lived and worked quite a bit in Mormon college towns, I have mixed feelings about these operations. Here in Rexburg, Idaho, recruitment offices for security and pest control sales companies are in prominent places throughout the town. One of my neighbors has done quite well selling for such companies. However, Brigham Young … [Read more...]

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What, if anything, do GAs read?

This most recent conference struck me in an interesting way. I found myself listening closely for some small sign that the speakers read and engage topics outside of the scriptures and other GA talks. While I didn't hear every talk this weekend, I found little evidence that they consumed many books or are aware of scholarly or educated discourses on the topics they discussed. Instead, they seem mostly to traffic in anecdotes and offer homespun wisdom. I do not intend to suggest an implicit … [Read more...]

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Misrecognition

Misrecognition is one of those important terms in anthropology that is so useful that you almost can't help thinking about it all the time. Two of its most important proponents are Pierre Bourdieu and Catherine Bell who use it to explain ritual, or more precisely, ritualized practices. … [Read more...]

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Gender, Mormonism, and Transsexuality

The declaration that "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose" is presumably attempted to rebut the second-wave feminist articulation of the sex/gender dichotomy which sees sex as natural and gender as culturally/socially constructed, and therefore malleable. While it is perhaps unclear that "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" is theoretically sophisticated enough to be aware of the sex/gender distinction that emerged in the … [Read more...]

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Apocaliterature and Historical Fiction

NB: This post compares and contrasts a set of books that I have never read (just like a true academic, or a true fundamentalist, er, a true ideologue of some sort ), so any feedback would be extremely helpful.It is useful to compare the Left Behind series that has been so popular since 1995 in evangelical circles, with the Work and the Glory series since its release in 1990. Both are multi-volume epics that are aimed at the faithful as didactic literature that inculcates its audience into a … [Read more...]

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