The “Thoughts and Prayers” Backlash is Deserved

After so many shootings this year, it just feels like nothing is ever going to change. But after the San Bernardino shooting, there was a decent amount of backlash against the many politicians who responded to the news with a very bland, “thoughts and prayers” tweet. Tweeting "thoughts and prayers" is right up there with American politicians' favorite past time of making excuses for why we can’t have any sensible firearm’s a template tweet for all politicians to use. “My thou … [Read more...]

Finding Hope From The Westboro Baptist Church

For years, the Westboro Baptist Church have been synonymous with bigotry. I learned this when they protested at my high school in 2004 over a production of The Laramie Project (documented by my embarrassing teenager blog). A large counter protest was organized, and an event originally sparked with hate turned into a largely positive, jovial affair. The Phelps clan were woefully outnumbered, and they left rather quickly, while the crowd left behind cheered and laughed and prayed together. As an … [Read more...]

These Three Things Are True

Sharp divisions make it hard to pinpoint "how Mormons feel" about the policy barring children of same-sex married parents from blessing or baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but these three things are true:Mormonism is charismatic. Mormonism is organized. Mormonism is Mormons.By “Mormonism is charismatic” (from the term “charismata”, or gifts of the Holy Spirit including visions, healings, prophecy, etc.) I mean that its existence as a religious tradition is … [Read more...]

Mistakes in Mormonism; or Why the Church Handbook isn’t Doctrine

By Gary AshcroftLet me preface my comments with a few statements. I am Mormon. I’ve been one for my entire life. I believe that the Gospel is true and that it can bring us happiness. I also believe that the Church is led by a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and that he speaks for God. I am proud of my membership in the Church and wish in no way to disparage it, abandon it, or equivocate as to my beliefs.That being said, I also recognize that the Church and the Gospel are not the same. The G … [Read more...]

How I choose to see the revisions

I write this as a heterosexual person, one who is not directly affected by the new strictures in the Church Handbook of Instructions (CHI). For that reason, this is all very easy for me to say. I do not blame those who are 'closer to' this situation if their reaction is different from mine. I do not blame those who will leave. However, let's get one thing straight from the beginning: those who made this decision did not relish it. The Brethren do not look for ways to kick people out of the … [Read more...]

Resolutions and Desires

I’m terrible at New Year’s resolutions. I’ve read all read the strategies for proper goal-setting—manageable, concrete tasks, tell a buddy, be accountable, etc., etc. But a missing ingredient I think I’m just beginning to understand is the significance of desire (and not just the cliché “you have to want it for yourself” kind of advice).I think many failed resolutions result not simply from insufficient willpower or poor strategizing, but from not being honest with myself about what the resol … [Read more...]

“If We Can’t Fix It, It Ain’t Broke”

 “IF WE CAN’T FIX IT, IT AIN’T BROKE.”Because I live in Hong Kong, whenever I’m in the States I tend to notice all sorts of little things and to recklessly ascribe deep cultural meaning to them. So when I read this slogan on the wooden sign nailed on the outside of the car repair shop, it struck me as a charming specimen of Americans’ optimistic, can-do attitude.The wooden sign was a play on the original saying,  “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT." It kept nearly the exact same wo … [Read more...]

There Will Be Blood

On Saturday President Obama took to the podium in the Rose Garden and announced that he had decided that in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, resulting in well over a thousand casualties including hundreds of children, he believed that the United States “should take military action against Syrian regime targets.”  Acknowledging paralysis at the level of the United Nations Security Council and a lack of will even among our closest allies, he assert … [Read more...]