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March/April 2015 Open General Conference Thread

Yes, I know I should have opened this last week with the first session, but I neglected to. Please feel free to add your thoughts about the women’s session or any other session below.

Happy conference and happy Easter!


General Women’s Session

  • Sister Cheryl A. Esplin: “Filling our homes with light and truth”
  • Sister Carole M. Stephens: “The family is of God”
  • Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson: “Defenders of the proclamation”
  • President Henry B. Eyring: “The Comforter”

Saturday Morning Session

  • President Henry B. Eyring: “Is Not This the Fast that I Have Chosen?”
  • President Boyd K. Packer: “The Plan of Happiness”
  • Sister Linda K. Burton: “We’ll Ascend Together”
  • Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “The Parable of the Sower”
  • Elder L. Whitney Clayton: “Choose to Believe”
  • Elder L. Tom Perry: “Why Marriage and Family Matters”

Saturday Afternoon Session

  • Elder David A. Bednar: “Therefore they hushed their fears”
  • Elder D. Todd Christofferson: “Why marriage, why family”
  • Elder Wilford Andersen: “The music of the gospel”
  • Elder Dale G. Renlund: “Latter-day Saints keep on trying”
  • Elder Michael T. Ringwood: “Truly good and without guile”
  • Elder Quentin L. Cook: “The Lord is my light”

Priesthood Session

  • Elder M. Russell Ballard: “The greatest generation of young adults”
  • Elder Ulisses Soares: “Yes, we can and will win!”
  • Brother Larry M. Gibson: “Fatherhood — our eternal destiny”
  • President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “On being genuine”
  • President Henry B. Eyring: “Priesthood and personal prayer”
  • President Thomas S. Monson: “The priesthood — a sacred gift”

Sunday Morning Session

  • President Thomas S. Monson: “Blessings of the temple”
  • Sister Rosemary M. Wixom: “Returning to faith”
  • Elder Jose A. Teixeira: “Seeking the Lord”
  • Bishop Gérald Caussé: “Is it still wonderful to you?”
  • Elder Brent H. Nielson: “Waiting for the prodigal”
  • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “Where justice, love and mercy meet”
  • President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “The gift of grace”

Sunday Afternoon Session

  • Elder Robert D. Hales: “Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom”
  • Elder Kevin W. Pearson: “Stay by the Tree”
  • Elder Rafael E. Pino: “The Eternal Perspective”
  • Elder Neil L. Andersen: “Thy Kingdom Come”
  • Elder Jorge F. Zeballos: “If You Will Be Responsible”
  • Elder Joseph W. Sitati: “Be Fruitful, Multiply and Subdue the Earth”
  • Elder Russell M. Nelson: “The Sabbath is a Delight”

A social media conversation today started with this:

Is there a meme for Men Explain Mormon Doctrine? If not I propose that should be a thing—the tendency for, whenever a woman expresses concerns with some part of Mormon doctrine and culture, some dude to rush in to reassure her that it’s all okay and and then proceed to lay out his entire vision of Mormon Doctrine as though she’d somehow never heard any of it before.

Mormon Feminist MansplainingPredictably, it took just a few minutes for someone to use the word mansplaining to label this phenomenon. And then the revelrous sniggering began. Because, you know, never let a serious male mocking opportunity go to waste.

The term has popped up in hundreds of LDS discussions—mostly surrounding gender issues—the past couple of years. It’s garnered more overexposure than Hillary Clinton. For those of you who have been spared inundation with the vacuous descriptor, you may have reamined blissfully unaware of this critical conversational term. For you, here is the definition:  [click to continue…]


Remembering Robes

I’ve written about Robes before. He comes up in blogging and social media and conversation regularly. My kids who were too young or unborn during the Boca Raton days know his story. Or at least how his story intersects with ours. All my close Utah friends know him by name, even though they never met him. He’s just one of those guys. And not because he died too soon, just because of who he was and, I’m sure, still is.

Remembering Robes

18 years ago this week a bunch of friends attended our monthly GNO dinner. On the way home Sue, Patti, Kim, and I talked in the car. Kim was worried about Robes’ upcoming MRI. He’d been having odd, inexplicable symptoms for a while. We were sure the procedure would just rule out anything really bad.

A couple of days later, Robes called to ask me to speak in Sacrament Meeting on the upcoming Easter Sunday. (He also happened to be our bishop, but we could only call him “Bishop Patton” either when the stake president was within earshot or when we wanted to annoy him. (The latter being a not unfrequent occurrence, in retrospect.))

After chatting a bit, I said, “Hey, how did your tests go?”  [click to continue…]

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Book Review: Mormons Say and Do the Darndest Things

As a child I poured over my parents copy of The Devil’s Dictionary. The older I got, the more of its humor I understood. I felt so smart with each new enlightenment.

Mormons Say and Do the Darndest ThingsNow, thanks to one-time (well, really eight-time) Mormon Momma author Janiel Miller, we have an LDS version for your amusement. Introducing the one, the only Mormons Say and Do the Darndest Things.

Janiel is a gifted humorist in the very best Erma Bombeckian styling. She’s clever, witty, and endlessly (did you read that Janiel?) self-abasing. The last serves her writing, but doesn’t match the person. She has every reason to be arrogant, but instead she’s lovely inside and out.

I was delayed in my efforts to review the book because my sons (ages 11 and 14) kept sneaking off with it. They would show up at lunch or dinner with a bit to share. Usually it was something like “Fear Not the Apocalypse, for I Have Beans” (because beans in any context is unquestioningly hilarious) or the definition of apple beer (because beer in any context in unquestioningly hilarious, as in, “Hey, mom, can I have some beer. … I mean root beer? Hahahahahahaha bwahahahahaha”).  [click to continue…]


Emotional Labor – The Injustice of It All

Hear ye, hear ye, there’s a new injustice in town! Forget the war on women, white privilege, and ecological carnaage. A greater demon is in our midst!

Emotional LaborThe latest whinge du jour is emotional labor. You know, that age-old problem of oppressed and misused hirelings being coerced by Big Management to be decent to other people while on the job. (I know! I’m just as outraged as you!)

Not only are all the huddled masses without marketable skills and/or creativity forced (in that progressive #firstworldproblems #poorme #donotreallyhavetojustdonotwantto kind of way) to work minimum wage jobs that—get this—only require the skills sets they actually possess, they also are figuratively bludgeoned into being nice to their customers!

As author Ned Resnikoff of the illustrious mscnbc.com tells us:

A Starbucks barista’s job is more than just serving coffee. [Wait for it…] She also needs to be polite, even friendly, to the customers. [The injustice!!!] If she does her job correctly, then maybe the customer will walk away feeling like the barista was actually happy to serve him—that it was not only her job, but a genuine pleasure. [When we’d prefer he realizes she wants to throat punch him for drinking coffee.] In many jobs, that sort of projected enthusiasm may just be a way of earning some additional tips on top of the employee’s base pay. But in other lines of work—including the occupations which fuel America’s growing low-wage service sector—proper emotional responses are mandatory. [As in they have to be nice, even if they don’t feel like it! Oh!]

Did you read that? She doesn’t just huck frothy hot beverages at the people paying her wage. Her oppressive, greedy, filthy-rich (obviously to all three) employer requires her to hand the cup to them politely and—the height of indecency—with a smile! Can you imagine? Not only must she provide him with his drink of choice, she must attempt to make the experience enjoyable!  [click to continue…]


The Post That Is Better Than This Post

This morning I intended to write a post about the church’s press conference Tuesday, variously hailed and/or jeered as calling for religious liberty, supporting LGBT rights, elevating institutional rights while denigrating individual liberties, making a press conference out of a molehill, “punking” the press with bloviation, etc.

Church Supports LGBT Rights

As it turns out, however, much of what I intended to say has already been addressed by Connor Boyack (president of Libertas Institute), in Supporting Property Rights Means Opposing Anti-Discrimination Law. Please take the time to read this.

Conservative Libertarianism

To be clear, I have opposed anti-discrimination legislation for decades (in the cases of individuals and private businesses, not government entities). I have done so on principle and long before gay rights was on my (or the general) radar.

I have done so even when the legislation would have benefited me and my family. For example, I oppose legislation that would require a private individual or business to rent to/associate with/provide for/give service to/hire women, whites, Mormons, gingers, Irish decedents, BYU graduates, or any other group to which I belong. Similarly, I oppose legislation that would require a private individual or business to rent to/associate with/provide for/give service to/hire Catholics, men, blacks, Jews, gays, Utes, brunettes, farmers, people who live in brick houses, or any other group to which I do not belong.  [click to continue…]


Church Asks for Feeback on Temple Garments

Now is your chance! The church has created a survey and is asking for feedback and suggestions about garment fabric, fit, and cut. Probably the best post I’ve read on the topic is If I Were In Charge: Change Women’s Garments (And Men’s) from Wheat & Tares. Head on over there if you want some practical ideas.

Then hop over to the garment survey and give your input!


BYU Should Take a Clue from GoDaddy

In 2007 I completed the arduous task of moving over 100 domains from GoDaddy to my new registrar, MyDomain. Every time I moved one, I sent a note to the administration that I was doing so because I would  not support their sexist and objectifying advertising with my dollars.

BYU Should Take a Clue from GoDaddy

I’ve written before that sexism hasn’t always been fully on my radar. I noticed blatant things (like my sister’s high school calculus teacher saying, “Why do I bother to teach girls math when they are just going to stay home and have babies?” (Orem High School, circa 1978)). But many of the “death by a thousand cuts” issues just passed on by as “normal.” (Because, well, they were.)

A couple of years ago I heard lip service to a change in the internet giant’s advertising, but I’ve been waiting for results. Today I read an article that describes the changes that have occurred within the company, not only in advertising, but in creating a general culture that is welcoming to women at all levels.  [click to continue…]


Feminism and Logic: a Primer

Dictionaries and Other Nice Things

At the risk of breaking the second commandment of church speaking (the first being refraining from starting any talk with, “The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet says…”), I’m going to start this post with a definition (I know, I’m sorry!):

Feminism and Logic: a Primer


  1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Read it twice. Read it thrice.  [click to continue…]


The Salvation Equation

Evangelical and Mormon Grace

In Perils of Grace by Robert L. Millet (BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 53 No. 2 2014 pp.7-19) the author summarizes his experience with the doctrine of grace especially from the standpoint of interacting with Evangelicals and the contrast between the Mormon and Evangelical perspectives on grace.

The Salvation Equation

In the article, Millet describes a common Evangelical theological approach to the concept of grace called monergism, that is, that God alone determined beforehand who will and will not be saved. He provides to those predestined to salvation the desire to be saved, thereby taking the choice out of their hands. (Sometimes called “irresistible grace.”)

The author also describes the contrasting Mormon theological approach as synergism, that is, God and humanity work together to achieve salvation. We cooperate on our salvation. God’s component is essential, but so is ours.

Millet makes a very telling generalization as well as providing specific examples that can be very helpful to Mormons, not only when interacting with Evangelicals but also in understanding the dynamics of forgiveness and repentance. His generalization is worth quoting:

My perception after almost two decades of interaction with Evangelicals—and it is a generalization, I freely admit—is that they have what might be called a very high view of forgiveness and a low view of repentance. That is, Evangelicals rejoice regularly in the power and beauty and grandeur of God’s forgiveness, and these glad tidings are sounded, even trumpeted, by all. That is as it should be, and Latter-day Saints could take a lesson from our friends. On the other hand, what I hear consistently is how important it is for us to reach up and receive the Lord’s forgiveness but not much on how it is to be received. Some have gone so far as to suggest that one of the reasons Evangelicals teach repentance so seldom is the fear that people may somehow begin to view their repentance has a work!

The result Millet outlines is that the “fruits of repentance”—or behavioral changes that follow true repentance—are often not well exhibited in the Evangelical population. The peril is a grace-based apathy toward repentance and faithfulness, since the outcome is sure. (This trend has carried over to some extent among Mormons who also choose to emphasize the merits of grace and assume little need for repentance. )

According to Millet that is not the most dangerous peril for most Mormons. The most dangerous peril (which some Evangelicals also charge) is that Mormons believe in a “grace of the gaps” that cheapens God’s grace. That is, we work to earn some significant percentage of our salvation and then Christ makes up the difference, that is Salvation = Grace + Effort. By earning we become too reliant on ourselves and not enough on God.  [click to continue…]