No Blessing: A plea to LDS leaders regarding single members in the Church


First, a caveat: I don't mean to come off as whiny or overdramatic in this entry. I know this is a first-world problem. I know life could be so much worse than it actually is for me and those in my relationship category. However, those other, 'worse' problems are not mine/ours. I can only speak for what I know, and this is the biggest cross I've been called to bear to this point in my life. Despairing your future, no matter what circumstances bring on such feelings, is a terrible situation in … [Read more...]

Death, Sealing Power, and “Trusting into Transformation”

 [Preliminary note: This is the first of two posts relaying insights from a few years of reflecting on Mormon ideas about salvation and family in light of Sam Brown’s masterful study of early Mormonism, In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death.]My favorite invocation/description of what Mormons call “the sealing power” comes from the King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith’s boldest challenge to the brand of Calvinism popular among many early Americans. Ra … [Read more...]

James Bond becoming more interesting and relevant isn’t a bad thing


 Idris Elba basically oozes everything one associates with James Bond. Pretty much everyone recognizes this. He's also an amazing actor (see: BBC's Luther, among other things). But recently, author Anthony Horowitz (who apparently writes James Bond novels?) thinks he is “too street” to do the job right. There are lots of problems with this, racism being the most apparent, but I'm also really interested in how this reflects our attitude toward longstanding franchise characters.As Kev … [Read more...]

When did celebrities become so powerful?


 There's nothing terribly new to the idea that maybe we give celebrities far too much credit for being whatever it is they are. After all, being overhyped is basically the job of any good pop culture icon. But last night, as I was plunking around on the Internet, I was painstakingly reminded that celebrities have somehow grown to be seen as primary indicators of the health of our society. I'm talking, of course, about the MTV Video Music Awards and the hubbub that surrounds them, but … [Read more...]

Remembering Wes Craven


Horror movies were off limits when I was a kid. That’s the way it should be. My mom, in her best intentions, always declared that watching a scary movie would definitely lead to nightmares the following night. I suffered from sleep paralysis as a kid, so nightmares were inevitable. But the connection between the two was profoundly influential on my relationship with horror. The idea that some piece of art could affect me in such a way that I physically suffered—how cool is that?Sometimes it f … [Read more...]

About Me

Tarik photo

Before I start writing for Patheos, especially for Peculiar People, I thought that it would be appropriate to introduce my readers to myself; especially who I am and why I do what I do.I was born on June 16th 1991 in Washington D.C. My parents were in the military, so we moved quite a bit, but settled in Riverside, California in 1995. I spent most of my life in Riverside, and will always consider it home, regardless of where I currently happen to live at the time.I was raised as a … [Read more...]

“It seems as if the whole world has gone crazy”: Seeking peace in the midst of turmoil


For the first eighteen years of my life, I was Catholic. As I like to say, “the real kind, not the Christmas-and-Easter kind.” My family still is. Anyway, for fourteen of those eighteen years, I attended Catholic school. During the elementary and junior high-aged years, on Fridays during Lent, we as a school would go across the street to the church and practice a more child-oriented version of the Stations of the Cross. When we got to the station for the Crucifixion, there was a description of th … [Read more...]

There’s’ something religious about ‘political correctness’


Editor's note: This expression of ideas is way too long and meanders a bit. The author apologizes for not editing it down, but he's just got a lot going on right now. Shortly after returning home on a drizzly afternoon, I began doing the dishes. When I do the dishes, I listen to things, because doing the dishes is boring and it distracts me from all the gross slimy things that my fingers make contact with.On this particular dish session, I listened to a fascinating interview on Radio … [Read more...]