What Should We Take Away From Slate’s Missionary Health Article?


We posted recently about the Slate piece by Mark Joseph Stern about missionary health care, and Jana Reiss’ piece at Flunking Sainthood in response. Both are worth a read, but the gist is that Stern reported that missionaries are often denied medical care in the mission field, and Reiss pointed out that his piece lacked some key information and relied instead on shock journalism, which undermined its potential positive influence in Church policy or culture. She's right, but there is something w … [Read more...]

The saving habit: 123 weeks and counting


See the crazy world going by in front of the LA Temple there? See the peace and safety the temple projects from atop its little hill out along Santa Monica Boulevard? Don't you want that peace and safety in your own mind and heart and life? This is me encouraging you to do whatcha gotta do to get yourself there as often as possible starting now.123 weeks ago last night, I attended the temple for the first time in more than two years. Coming off more than a year and a half of inactivity, I … [Read more...]

Thank You, Elder Scott: Memories of an MTC Moment


Richard G. Scott was the first General Authority I ever met. While I was in the MTC, he came and spoke in the last Tuesday night devotional I was there -- the only Apostle my district got to see in our two months' time in Provo. Hearing of his passing this week took me back to the summer of 2003, when I was 21 years old and so excited to wear that black name tag, to teach and testify and sacrifice for the Lord as a missionary. It had been a tumultuous few months prior to my going to the MTC, but … [Read more...]

Doubting at Zion’s Gate

Through happenstance, two of my recent reads synergistically centered on doubt and the thresholds of religion.In the first, Elmer Miller’s Nurturing Doubt, the author reflects on his time as a Mennonite missionary in the Argentine Chaco (exactly where I served my LDS mission) and his later return as a professional anthropologist. He relates how his experience in ministering to the Toba, an ethnic group native to the Chaco, caused him to question the utility of the Christian message and A … [Read more...]

Mormons and Basketball in the Philippines


“There are good Mormons, rogue Mormons, drunk Mormons, polygamy Mormons. But one thing they all have in common is basketball.” -Rick Majerus, former University of Utah head basketball coachMormons have a unique love affair with basketball, as Matt Bowman has deftly analyzed elsewhere. From the pickup games and (slightly) more organized local leagues sponsored by Mormon stakes and wards to 2011’s Jimmermania, and from LDS Prophet Thomas Monson’s casual backslap of former Utah Jazz head co … [Read more...]

Missionary Work in the Pre-Correlation Age, My Grandfather’s “Mormon Doctrine,” and Mormonism’s (Un)Systematic Theology

My grandfather's 3-volume "Mormon Doctrine."

My grandfather took a train to Toronto, Canada, to start his LDS mission in 1948. After a very brief stay at the mission home, he was off with his new companion to find converts. The Church was very small at the time in the area. Big cities like Toronto and Oshawa had branches, but most small towns lacked a single member and the missionaries were left to travel long distances, usually once every few weeks, to neighboring villages in order to gather with missionaries and have a makeshift … [Read more...]