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The world is full of idols, athletes, entertainers, people famous for no reason at all, and people famous for all the wrong reasons. It’s easy for our kids to get lost in the glamour and glitz and to idolize people whose examples are not worthy of being emulated.

Real Heroes

Some attempts have been made to encourage Mormon kiddos to look up to scripture heroes as their models by creating plastic figurines for Samuel the Lamanite, Nephi, etc. It’s a noble cause, but you might notice that almost every such figure (due to…you know…the dearth of women in the scriptures) is male. Even all the missionaries are male. Phhhttt. (I did find a Sariah figure, but that’s all I can see to represent the female half of the population.)

What can we do?

First, we can do is to acknowledge that no person is perfect. No person other than Christ should be our exemplar. Downplaying the hero worship of popular culture icons can be done by discussing how everyone has some talents, but that doesn’t mean we copy everything they do. We might want to learn to do a layup like Johnny Moe, but we don’t have to dress, talk, and philander like he does.

Second, we can look for those who do good in many ways and show their examples. Using examples of people who have made a positive difference, blessed others, shown Christlike love and then discussing how we can emulate them can be a great motivator. These good people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages and that diversity can help our children look for good wherever they find it, not just on the court, stage, or magazine cover.



Primary Songs


[click to continue…]


Happy New Year! And Happy 13th birthday to Mormon Momma!

If you’re looking for some motivation, a nudge, a push, a shove, or just a little incentive to start 2016 off with a bang, here are some great resources for your consideration.

Mormon Hacks: New Year's 2016 [click to continue…]


Tolerance Is Not a Virtue

Cliff Notes version of this post: Tolerance (inclusion, acceptance, etc.) is not inherently virtuous. It is only virtuous to the extent that the thing being tolerated (included, accepted, etc.) is virtuous or to the extent that tolerating (including, accepting, etc.) the non-virtuous has a virtuous outcome.

Tolerance is Not a Virtue

Failing my own rule #4 of Sacrament Meeting talks, I am going to begin today’s lesson with three definitions. This is an equivocation-free zone, so read carefully.

  1. Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own
  2. Acceptance: favorable reception; approval; favor
  3. Inclusion: the state of being part of the whole

Tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion can mean:

  • All economic classes are permitted/approved/welcomed (without regard for ability to pay)
  • All ethnicities and/or cultures are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All phsycial and/or mental abilities are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All races are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All species are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All genders are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All sexual orientations are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All non-traditional claimed gender spectrums are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All manner of dressing, non-dressing, cross-dressing are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All political persuasions are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All religious groups are permitted/approved/welcomed (or, more likely, equally shunned)
  • All _________ is permitted/approved/welcomed

Ohio State University, Cornell University, and University of Tennessee-Knoxville (among others) recently crowded the PC bandwagon to help their staff and students be the best in all the world at including (specific) things while also excluding (specific) things (of course, without acknowledging the latter). They did this by outlining the best ways to celebrate the holidays while being “inclusive, respectful, and festive.” Interestingly, these types of rules are generally put forth by the offices of “Inclusion and Diversity” (which, one would suppose, supports embracing a range of…something) and yet they demand homogeneous conformity. Weird how that works.  [click to continue…]


Do Mormon Women Oppose Priesthood Ordination? Redux

In October of 2013, a Pew survey made the claim that “big majority of Mormons (including women) oppose women in priesthood.” In March or 2014, I wrote Do Mormon Women Oppose Priesthood Ordination? Clarity About the Pew Survey to refute the erroneous conclusion.

Do Women Oppose Priesthood Ordination? Redux

In the aftermath there were numerous groups—claiming faithful adherence to doctrine—that used the survey fallaciously to “prove” that women opposed ordination in some sweeping way. It was purported to show that the status quo is not only inspired, but preferable, to members at large and women in particular.

Another large poll released yesterday shows—surprise! surprise!—an almost diametrically opposed result. And that I was right.  [click to continue…]


The Gospel of Inclusivity and Nothingness

Last week I engaged in a libertarian-esque discussion about geopolitical borders. In the midst of it, I came across a post by Kristine A titled The Rexburg Response to #PantsToChurch that rather fit into the concept of the necessity for distinction of groups.

The Gospel of Inclusivity and Nothingness

To be clear, I don’t care much at all what people wear to church (or anywhere else). I also quite agree with Kristine’s final thought:  [click to continue…]


New Order Mormonism and the Teenage Mind

The Teenage Mind

When I was in junior high, a mere 14 years old, I was positive I was in love. Not just infatuated. Not just hormonal. This was no ordinary teenage crush, it was different!

New Order Mormonism and the Teenage Mind

And, indeed, it was. The object of my affection—affection that was first bestowed upon me from him—was a 19-year-old college boy.

Let that just settle into your mind for a minute.

In spite of my assertions that “chronological age is not a determiner of maturity or responsibility,” in spite of my emphatic claims that I was different, special, and extraordinary, in spite of my pleas and promises and throwing myself prone on my bed in a tormented angsty rage of tears, my (mean, awful, hateful) parents would not be swayed.

All I wanted in the whole entire world was to date just a tiny bit (precisely 1.83 years) before the Mormon standard of 16 and to date someone old enough to be…well…illegal. I would forgo every other life opportunity and privilege for the rest of eternity, yea verily, I would do extra chores and practice my violin an extra half hour a day. Plus continue to get straight As. Plus read many, many scripture chapters weekly. Plus visit the elderly and the shut-ins. Plus make my bed. If only I could have my heart’s one true desire!

Yes, I even played the love card.  [click to continue…]


This morning the Office of the First Presidency clarified the handbook changes. These clarifications alleviate or resolve many of the problems being discussed. I’m relieved to hear the intent, much of which aligns with what I had hoped for. While many will still disapprove, the clarification verifies that this was the most poorly written policy since Brigham Young codified the temple/priesthood ban.

Same-Sex Marriage/Cohabitation Policy Clarification: Time to Fire the Legal Department

Coders, engineers, and lawyers—at very least—should have been able to detect the fundamental flaws in the original language of this policy. (See Bad Code for a description.) I don’t know what filter new policy runs through at headquarters, but the team was certainly off their game this time—and the fallout has been tremendous.

Today we learned some important things that were not clear (and some not even addressed) in the original policy: [click to continue…]


Nose and the Stewardship

[Upon hearing repeated snorting behind me.]

Mom: Caleb, here’s some tissue. You need to blow your nose.

Caleb (12): Samson needs to blow his nose, too.

Mom: You worry about your own nose. Samson can worry about his.

Caleb: I need justice!


Who’s On the Lord’s Side?

We should show love and kindness and sympathy and welcome all to our friendship.

At the same time, we need to be careful that we do not “cast out” and “mock” the words of our prophets and “destroy” or discredit them by using social media as a forum to breed anger and criticism of the prophets and our church.

As angry as some of you have been about one part of the new policy, do not forget about the definition of apostasy that was laid out in the handbook as well:

Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.

How can we share the gospel, be a missionary, and further the work of the Lord when we discredit and shame our own prophet?  [click to continue…]


Over the last couple of chaotic days, I’ve seen a number of misrepresentations of the new church policy. Some people are willfully misconstruing (of course, because how else does a religion-baiter maintain relevance?), but some of the responsibility lies with the church. The crew who wrote this policy got it wrong.

The Logical Fail of the New Handbook Rules: Writing Policy with Bad Code

One of the incorrect statements I keep hearing is that the policy disallows baptism of children whose parents have ever been in a same-gender relationship. But it doesn’t. But it kind of does. The policy is badly written and hard to follow. Add to that what I think (hope?) are some unstated assumptions and it turns the policy from a difficult one to gobbledygook.

Below I’ll be fisking with the new handbook policy (Handbook 1, number 16.3) in purple (how appropriate!) and my own thoughts in black. My point is to note what I think is the intent of the policy as it is currently written, what it can’t logically mean, and what I hope (and pray) will be changed.

Here we go!  [click to continue…]