Why that Peaceful Feeling?

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 from stone so … [Read more...]

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...]

Trump and NATO: Lessons from Ancient Greece

The demise of an alliance in Ancient Greece warns of the dangers of angering our partners in NATO. The headlines were withering. “Trump’s Trip Was a Catastrophe,” The Atlantic declared; “Trump’s behavior at NATO is a national embarrassment,” proclaimed the Washington Post; “President Trump Fails NATO,” the New York Times lamented.The behavior that spurred these headlines was painfully visible on May 25 as President Donald Trump attended a summit meeting of the NATO alliance in Brussels. NATO … [Read more...]

America Needs Mitt Romney

A Senator Romney could stand up to Donald Trump without losing his seat. America needs Mitt Romney.I never thought I would find myself typing those words. In 2012, when Romney ran for the presidency, I unabashedly voted for Obama instead. Romney’s bellicose rhetoric towards Iran bothered me, as did his borderline racist comments about Palestinians. In contrast, Obama impressed me with his cautious, cerebral approach to decision making and his compassionate position on immigration. In the e … [Read more...]

Trump: The Enemy of the Family

This morning Isabel, a middle-aged Mormon woman from Colombia who has lived in the US for years, left her home in Draper, Utah and was forced to board a plane bound for Colombia. ICE, acting under what they would only describe as "changed priorities," took Isabel away from two US citizens who depend on her care. Her 18-year-old son, who is disabled and unable to care for himself (a fact that her Mormon bishop corroborated over the phone), as well as her 86-year-old mother, who is also a US … [Read more...]

The Anti-Trump General Conference

Like many Mormons around the world, I’ve spent this weekend watching the Church’s General Conference, a biannual assembly of Church leaders and members where they come together to learn and be uplifted. While watching it, I’ve been struck by one thought – this is the anti-Trump conference.No, the leaders of the Church haven’t spent their time denouncing President Trump or calling for his ouster. Rather, they have offered forceful denunciations of some of the key tenets of Trumpism. That is, t … [Read more...]

The Casual Sexism in Trump’s Condolences to Theresa May

To hear Trump tell it, you'd think that Theresa May fainted after the Westminster attack.   Theresa May is a strong woman.The first female British prime minister since Margaret Thatcher, and the second in history, has had to weather the turbulent storms of Westminster’s raucous political culture, constantly fending off the schoolboy-like taunts of opponents during regular appearances before Parliament. She’s also had to guide her nation through a harrowing period of uncertainty, wit … [Read more...]

Mormons and Free Trade

Despite a rocky history, Mormons have come to love free trade. They should keep advocating for it in the face of Trump's skepticism. An ancient text describes a group of people who benefited from open borders and free trade. But it isn’t British economist Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, but rather the Book of Mormon, a collection of scriptures revered by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its description of a borderless trading regime is set out in the following ver … [Read more...]