In the wake of revelations about former White House Chief of Staff Rob Porter, another revelation has shocked many Mormons: both wives approached their local bishop – one ex-wife even approached three! But by and large, they did not receive the help and support that they needed. In some cases, the bishop even suggested that the abuse was in some way the wife’s fault, that she could change the situation by being more loving or by improving the spiritual side… Read more

One of the most common canards about Mormon teachings —embraced by attempted comics both left and right— is that faithful Mormons will, in the afterlife, “get their own planets.” This idea derives from certain genuinely Mormon concepts of divinization: our Heavenly Parents [fn1] wish for us to become as They are: Co-creators of worlds and Parents to those worlds’ inhabitants. But I’m not sure what people like Trey Parker and Matt Stone, writers of the The Book of Mormon musical, imagine this… Read more

A friend recently asked me to share my thoughts on Russell M. Nelson’s appointment as the new President of the Church and his choice of counselors. My feelings and thoughts are both still somewhat jumbled, in part because I didn’t actually expect Pres. Nelson to break with the (totally unofficial) tradition and send a counselor back to the Q12. So I’ll ignore my feelings and stick to my thoughts on each apostle who just joined or left the First Presidency, and I’ll… Read more

When I taught writing courses at Brigham Young University, President Monson always provided a great go-to example of the passive voice. Without bothering to look up a quote, I’d rattle off a quick and sentimental list: “Hearts were touched, tears were shed, doors were opened.” See what I mean? It sounds like something President Monson might at some point have said, even though I made that up as I typed. Telling inspirational stories was one of his endearing qualities, and… Read more

My grandmother was a child bride. Married at 14 after giving birth to twins, she spent her wedding day sobbing, as she watched her dream of going to college and becoming a teacher slip away. By 18, she had 4 kids. My grandfather was a teenager himself when they got married, and neither of them were ready to be spouses, never mind parents. My grandfather was able to pull his life back together after she left (and she took all… Read more

So, I haven’t really been excited about the “me too” thing going around social media, because I think that without any context on what happened, it’s easy for most people (especially men) who see those statuses to just shrug and say, “Yeah, yeah – everything’s considered sexual harassment these days.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase in my life: “Everything’s considered sexual harassment these days.” It usually (but not always) comes from men who are… Read more

  Months after Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling for the Anthem, I think it’s safe to say that most Americans are sick and tired of this debate. Depending on what stance they take, Americans are perhaps sick and tired for different reasons, but the consensus is the same for most of us: we’re sick of rehashing the same points, only for everyone to walk away with the same opinion they had going in. At the center of this debate is… Read more

Author’s note: in my last post, I discussed similarities between Christianity and progressive social media, more specifically Mormon progressive social media. In this post I discuss what these similarities mean for Mormon progressives.   How religious strategies can undermine progressive efforts As a progressive and a person of faith, I don’t see the similarities between religion and progressivism as inherently bad or good. What I’d say is that many of these overlaps can strengthen progressive movements, while others should be approached… Read more

In the days following white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, many progressive activists in the US took to social media not only to express dismay, but also to suggest actions and strategies for peacefully dismantling white supremacy. In my own social media feed, a friend shared a post that had been making the rounds, a list of actions for white allies to take. Most items on the list seemed like smart moves, but one surprised me: “get your friends on their own… Read more

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

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