February 9, 2018

Rob Porter’s bishops urged his wives not to leave him. My grandfather, a Mormon bishop, wished he had encouraged divorce.  The Bloggernacle has been abuzz the past couple of days with talk about Rob Porter, the White House Staff Secretary and Mormon who recently resigned over allegations that he abused both of his ex-wives. During the furor over Porter’s actions, and the Trump White House’s initial willingness to turn a blind eye to them, one thing in particular struck me:... Read more

December 9, 2017

Regardless of how hard Mormons try to gain acceptance from conservative Christians by playing up their culture war bona fides, they’ll never be admitted to the country club. There are dog whistles and then there are dog foghorns. On December 5th, former White House Chief Strategist (and alleged wife-beater, avowed Leninist, and anti-Semite) Steve Bannon let sound one of the latter before a crowd of Republicans in Alabama. In response to Mitt Romney’s criticisms of credibly accused child molester Roy Moore,... Read more

December 8, 2017

Mia Love isn’t standing up for women – she’s fighting for her political survival.  “I think that he should voluntarily resign.” The quote above could apply to any number of famous men recently accused of sexual impropriety. Last night, Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks resigned amid allegations that he had pressured female staffers to role-play The Handmaid’s Tale bear his children. Earlier this week, Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken tendered his resignation, following a flood of groping allegations. Since early... Read more

December 7, 2017

“In the street, men were calling for the little girl whose bear was dead, for she was lost.” A reader’s eyes might skim over this sentence while rushing toward the nihilistic conclusion of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, a gore-soaked examination of the violent and depraved nature of the human soul.  In the next two pages, the lost child is subsumed in the anti-climactic murder of the novel’s protagonist, the nameless “Kid,” as he is crushed in the preternaturally hairless arms... Read more

October 1, 2017

LDS leaders decried the insidious nationalism championed by leaders like Putin, Trump, and Nigel Farage. I love America. I believe that my country is a land of opportunity and freedom, a place with one of the freest presses in the world, where aristocracy is decried, not celebrated, and where anyone, regardless of background, religion, or ethnicity, can become a fully accepted member of our national community. Although I haven’t done so, I have many family members who have served in... Read more

September 30, 2017

Elder Quentin L. Cook issued a not-too-subtle critique of Trump’s pride and “authenticity.” Wow. Just wow. Like, seriously, wow. In the Saturday afternoon session of LDS General Conference, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk about humility. That, by itself, wouldn’t be anything extraordinary. Almost every General Conference features admonitions to avoid pride and to seek humility. But what was extraordinary was how Cook all-but-named U.S. President Donald Trump as an object of... Read more

September 30, 2017

Elder Oaks seemed to disavow language in the Family Proclamation seen as patriarchal and against women working. In today’s morning session of LDS General Conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the third speaker. During his talk, he emphasized the importance of the document “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” and he summarized some of its language. However, what stood out to me is that he declined to stress one of the most... Read more

September 24, 2017

The Pharisees often valued symbols more than the tenets of their faith. Trump values the flag and the anthem more than the things that they stand for. In the New Testament, Christ often clashed with a group of clerics called the Pharisees, teachers whom he accused of valuing the symbols of their faith more than its actual doctrines and precepts. He condemned them for making a show of donating money to religious institutions while ignoring the plight of the poor;... Read more

September 23, 2017

Trump has criticized NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem. But Trump’s actions dishonor the anthem and American flag more than Kaepernick ever will. He’s at it again. Despite the crises of North Korea’s nuclear program, massive devastation from hurricanes in the southern United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, and a moribund legislative agenda, Donald Trump chose to spend his afternoon doing what he does best – ranting on Twitter: If a player wants the... Read more

September 22, 2017

Members and administrators in the Church and its universities should ensure that, when “protecting” the Church, they aren’t actually hurting it. In the mid-2000s, Comedy Central aired The Chappelle Show, a popular sketch comedy series. One of the show’s recurring segments, titled “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong,” featured sketches where people would engage in aggressive behavior to “preserve” their honor or safeguard their reputations. Inevitably, their over-the-top actions would result in negative repercussions for them, like losing a job,... Read more

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