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...]

Thomas, Meet Francis: The Glory of the Outsider-Leader

Jeffrey Bruno/Wikimedia Commons. Alterations by JFeinauer

I remember the day he was elected, feeling amazed that a non-European was finally going to be in charge. I'd been LDS for a long time by then, but the prospect of some new outsider of sorts, shaking things up in my church of origin...intrigued and excited me more than might be expected of a temple recommend-carrying Mormon. The past two and a half years since his accession have been the unfolding of what I consider to be a divinely-led series of reforms and refocusings, and with … [Read more...]

LDS Church frankly tackles addiction and recovery

Andrea Zanchi via Getty Images

In the late Apostle Boyd K. Packer’s 1975 book “Teach Ye Diligently” he encouraged the Church’s teachers to “treat with care” the sensitivity of subjects “pertaining to sex and the dangerous world of [drugs] and pornography.” He asked for teachers to “protect first the innocence” of the members of the church before speaking frankly.Times have changed. Now, 40 years later, Elder David A. Bednar’s counsel to the South Salt Lake Area stakes in August 2012 that, “what was once sufficient” to prot … [Read more...]

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 eulogy that inspired the King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith’s boldest challenge to the brand of Calvinism popular among ma … [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...]

What’s Goin’ On With Peculiar People


We are due for a little change.Peculiar People is relaunching with a renewed emphasis on examining the world through a Mormon lens. We are not always sure what that means, but excited about the possibilities anyway.When Matt Bowman and Ben Park first launched Peculiar People, the world was getting to know our religion during the so-called Mormon Moment. But now that introductions have been made, and the spotlight shifted from Mitt Romney to a more eclectic representation of Mormondom, it … [Read more...]

With the Mormon Church’s Backlash Against Boy Scouts, Gay Leaders Are Merely Scapegoats


Young men in the Mormon faith are almost guaranteed to be automatically enrolled with the Boy Scouts of America. I spent the majority of my teenage life attending BSA camp-outs, rafting down rivers, and camping out in the middle of no-man’s land. The BSA has always stood for some perceived transition into manhood by many members—learning how to start a fire, properly use an ax, and how to tie one-thousand-and-one-knots.However, last month the BSA announced a policy change that would allow gay … [Read more...]