Why that Peaceful Feeling?

When I was younger, I developed a paradoxical fear of the Holy Ghost. You see, it wasn’t uncommon for me to feel a strong sense of peace just before receiving bad news. Unexpected bad news. The intellectual and academic in me of course looks back and interrogates those experiences. Did I subconsciously respond to some subtle stimuli that foretold bad news? Did I exaggerate the emotional feeling after the fact? And rationally, I can’t deny those possibilities. Memory isn’t sculpted… Read more

A Letter for My Someday-Teenage Children

I write all of this to you, my kids-who-are-probably-too-young-to-make-it-through-this-entire-letter, to explain my commitment to Mormonism, the religious community in which your father and I have chosen to raise you. Read more

Confederate Symbols and the Black Flag of ISIS: Two Sides of the Same Coin

A terrorist symbol looms over my hometown. It stands for an intolerant, un-American ideology, one that stripped human beings of their dignity and equated them with animals, beasts who could be killed at will.  Ominous and unmoving, it is an unholy shrine to rape, torture, and genocide. It is a monument to Confederate soldiers. And it is just as much a symbol of terrorism as the black flag of ISIS. I grew up in Cochran, Georgia, a small town located… Read more

Trump and NATO: Lessons from Ancient Greece

The demise of an alliance in Ancient Greece warns of the dangers of angering our partners in NATO. The headlines were withering. “Trump’s Trip Was a Catastrophe,” The Atlantic declared; “Trump’s behavior at NATO is a national embarrassment,” proclaimed the Washington Post; “President Trump Fails NATO,” the New York Times lamented. The behavior that spurred these headlines was painfully visible on May 25 as President Donald Trump attended a summit meeting of the NATO alliance in Brussels. NATO, a collective… Read more

America Needs Mitt Romney

A Senator Romney could stand up to Donald Trump without losing his seat. America needs Mitt Romney. I never thought I would find myself typing those words. Read more

First-Order Myopia: What Donald Trump Can Learn from Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith’s life was cut short because he failed to look beyond first-order consequences. Trump should learn from his mistake. In the summer of 1844, the bustling new city of Nauvoo, Illinois, was a powder keg. Doctrinal disputes and personal feuds had birthed a state of heightened tension between Joseph Smith, the mayor of Nauvoo and founder of Mormonism, and certain Mormon dissidents. These tensions came to a head on June 7, when some of Smith’s detractors published the first… Read more

Unbridling Mormon Illustration: “From the Dust” – 2 of 2

In yesterday’s post, I discussed the relationship  between Mormon illustration and historical accuracy, specifying that I’d prefer to see a efflorescence of approaches in the Mormon illustrative tradition.   To exhibit the analytical richness artistic diversity can encourage, I present From the Dust, a graphic novel project based on the Book of Mormon. There’s a major difference, however, from all previous illustrations of the Book of Mormon: in From the Dust there are no humans. From left to right: Lemuel,… Read more

Mormon Illustration and the Burden of History – 1 of 2

In his book Miracles, C.S. Lewis dwells for a peculiarly long time on the Ascension of Christ. Namely, he muses on the how onlookers perceived and today’s Christians imagine the event. Why the sustained attention to this aspect of this moment? For one, Lewis is bound to the Neo-Platonic Christian theology that divorces the spiritual from the material, and sets the former above the latter on the scale of truth and value; however, he faces an account wherein Christ’s Ascension… Read more

Trump: The Enemy of the Family

This morning Isabel, a middle-aged Mormon woman from Colombia who has lived in the US for years, left her home in Draper, Utah and was forced to board a plane bound for Colombia. ICE, acting under what they would only describe as “changed priorities,” took Isabel away from two US citizens who depend on her care. Her 18-year-old son, who is disabled and unable to care for himself (a fact that her Mormon bishop corroborated over the phone), as well… Read more

Trump Should Learn from Andrew Jackson: Keep Church Out of State

Trump can learn from his hero and reject a fusion of Church and State.  Among the Religious Right, the idea that America is a secularized, atheistic wasteland has become an article of faith. From annual jeremiads about the “War on Christmas” to lamentations about prayer in schools, conservative Christians portray the country as a prodigal nation that has strayed from its faith-based roots. President Trump has pandered to this religious discontent, proclaiming that his America will “start saying Merry Christmas again”… Read more

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Mormon