A Letter for My Someday-Teenage Children

* This is a letter examining faith, written for my children--though they currently lack the attention span and the adolescent angst to get through such a long discussion. I hope someday they will find it useful. In the meantime, perhaps others will find it useful now. I’ve changed the personal names of people who aren’t already public figures speaking about Mormonism, or Chinese revolutionaries.2 July 2017, Auckland, New ZealandDear buddies,Since I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, I’ve … [Read more...]

A Hillbilly, a Professor, and a Mormon Mayor Walk into a (Dry) Bar . . .

The experience Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams gained on his Mormon mission helped him bridge economic and political divides. A year of national service could do the same for young Americans. A few months ago I finished reading Hillbilly Elegy, an engaging memoir by J.D. Vance that has been seized upon to explain the historic shift of blue-collar whites from their Democratic roots to voting for Trump in the 2016 election. In it, Vance discusses how many working-class whites, especially those … [Read more...]

Not a Democracy, Not a Dictatorship: My Big Fat Mormon Family

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously suggested moving to New Zealand to avoid Donald Trump. Alas, here I am in Auckland, New Zealand, but there is no refuge here from U.S. politics. Election news is on the BBC. It’s in the headlines. My students at the university get together to watch the debates and quote the best bits in tutorial.These discussions about political bodies and how they are constituted and governed have coincided with the semi-annual General Conference of t … [Read more...]

Stop Praying for us, and Acknowledge That You Helped Create Omar Mateen

Let me give you a run down: 2015 was the deadliest year on record for transgender women, but 2016 could surpass that—since the beginning of the year, 14 transgender individuals have been murdered. Additionally, research shows that 80% of LGBTQ people killed are people of color. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, fought over 200 anti-LGBTQ laws in the first ten weeks of 2016. Advocacy groups continue to fight House Bill 2, also known as The Public Facilities Privacy & S … [Read more...]

From Angst to Enlightenment: Reflections on Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool

Editor's Note: This review comes to us from guest contributor Brandon Habermeyer. You can read more of his reviews and commentary at his blog, DonaMajicShow and follow him on Twitter @DonaMajicShow.  Radiohead’s latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool, has been out for a week now and continues to unsettle, dismantle and weirdly uplift me. It plays on auto-loop wherever I go, quietly getting under my skin and dissolving my expectations. This seems to be the standard the band has set since Kid A, alwa … [Read more...]

Trans Win: Federal Government to Sue North Carolina

The Department of Justice recently announced it will be suing North Carolina for House Bill 2--an anti-trans law that requires individuals to use the bathroom of their assigned gender at birth. This is in addition to the other ways that HB 2 hurts the LGBTQ community, such as invalidating several LGBTQ anti-discrimination measures that local North Carolina governments enacted.Loretta Lynch, who was sworn in as US Attorney General just over a year ago, held a press conference this past … [Read more...]

Where Is Mormonism On Civil Rights?

This week I went to an anti-racism rally here in Lexington, Virginia in response to Ku Klux Klan fliers being dropped around town. It was such a remarkable experience. It was uplifting and awesome for a multitude of reasons. I got to hear people stand and repudiate the KKK. A black Washington and Lee professor stood up and called on us to examine more than just the clearly racist actions of a few; to be introspective in how we are complicit in structural oppression and white supremacy. We stood … [Read more...]

Ted Cruz’s Weak Islamaphobia

In the aftermath of this morning's tragic terrorist attack in Brussels, each presidential candidate is jumping at the chance to say something profound and earth shattering in defense of all that is good and decent. For Ted Cruz, the word that will change everything is simply "Islam."https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/712253015491645442 In his mind, the Obama administration hasn't described terrorism as Islamic enough. Instead, Obama has lectured us on Islamaphobia, and referred … [Read more...]