Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Circular reasoning works because…

Whether it’s true or not, i’ve long been bothered by the circularity of the idea that low church attendance on the part of Mormons is consistently the result of not acting on or rejecting or ever even actually receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost*—it only works if you assume that the given cause(s) have the given result, and i’ve never seen any actual good evidence that doesn’t involve such presuppositions. It could be true, i suppose, but there’s got to be a better way of making the claim.

* With exceptions for things like poor health and such, of course.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sometimes it’s just so easy

You know, i have to admit that i actually like the occasional fire-and-brimstone, one-moral-slip-and-you-lose sacrament (and conference) address—’cause it logically follows that since i’ve already slipped, i’ve already lost, and so i don’t need to try any more.

Thanks for the free pass, folks who think you’re trying to get me to be righteous!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Enjoying a song

How Gentle God’s Commands” is fun to sing—and both of the men’s parts move around in interesting ways, rather a rarity in Mormon hymnody.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dancing ties!

Can someone explain to me what the point of requiring “Sunday dress”* for selected youth dances might be?

* A ridiculously underdefined phrase, by the way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some useful advice

Stake conferences are tough on little kids, but i’ve noticed that there are some reliable tricks to get them to quiet down occasionally—like a stake children’s choir. For some reason, little kids pay attention when they hear little kids’ voices.

Therefore, my solution to the high ambient noise levels at conferences in stakes with a large number of children:

Every other speaker should be a six-year-old.

You should encourage your stake presidents to send donations to their least-favorite left-leaning charity of choice in lieu of sending me personal thanks.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Self-evident truths

You know, i can’t be the only one who gets amused by people bearing testimonies that include lines like “And i know that Thomas S. Monson is the president of this church.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hopes and dreams

One day—and i’m hoping it’s in my lifetime—someone will deliver a general conference address about how cultural traditions are good, but that they may need to be laid aside to conform with church principles.

Well, we actually already get those now and again. What i’m hoping to see, though, is one that goes just a little bit further and explicitly points out that some jello-belt traditions are among those that will need to be laid aside. That’s what we haven’t really gotten yet.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Good timing

Today is the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001—or, in other words, it’s rather a big deal day to a lot of people.

We also had stake conference today (and yesterday).

And in none of the stake conference meetings i was at (that is, the general meeting this morning, the adult session* yesterday evening, or the leadership meeting yesterday afternoon) was there even an oblique reference to the anniversary.

I would just like to say that i’m happy that my religion was able to serve as a refuge from the incessant coverage of the date that national and local media has been throwing at me over the past week or so.

* I can’t be the only one evil enough that the term “adult session” instantly triggers the concept of an “adult movie”, can I?

Friday, September 9, 2011

So this is an interesting turn

There’s a presidential election coming up next year here in the United States, and as part of our (insanely) long election process, a few interesting things have come out. First of all, for the first time as far as i can tell, there are two serious candidates who are Mormon, both of them running for the Republican Party’s nomination. Now, the Republican Party is the United States’ mainstream conservative party, but as an example of how socially conservative that party has drifted, consider the following intriguing factoid:

Out of all the candidates for that party’s nomination (and there are quite a few right now), the only two who agree with the scientific consensus that Darwinian evolution is a real thing and with the scientific consensus that global warming is happening and is the result of human activity are…the two Mormons.

Mormonism: The religion of modern science. Who’da thunk it?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding the lines

So tattoos and body piercings are strongly—very strongly—discouraged by the church. However, there is no ecclesiastical sanction if you get one, nor does having one preclude you from participating in any ordinance. So i have to wonder: Are tattoos and body piercings really against church rules?

Monday, September 5, 2011


I was going through some old papers, and i discovered notes i took from a stake conference where we were told they’d had their best youth conference turnout ever for a three-day “trek”* event. This was presented as clear evidence that trek is a wonderful thing.**

Me, i just find it worth noting that they probably wouldn’t have gotten as high a turnout for, say, a three-day project helping build a Habitat for Humanity house, and that’s just sad.

* For those of you who have happy enough lives that you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is trek, imagine a bunch of teenagers risking heatstroke as they push two-wheeled wheelbarrows around, and you’ve pretty much got it.

** If the causality seems tenuous, congratulations! You are capable of basic logic.

Friday, September 2, 2011

David B gingerly touches the third rail, again

Same-sex marriage is a big issue for a lot of people, both within and without the Mormon church.* (In fact, it’s become a big issue for a lot of non-Mormons with regard to how they view the Mormon church itself. But that’s a side issue for today’s topic.)

In pretty much every opinion poll of the US population that i’ve seen on the topic of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to get legally married, there’s been a consistent age breakdown: Those younger than me generally think there’s no problem with the idea, while those older than me think that it should never be allowed—my age seems to be the swing point for this effect.**

I haven’t seen any such polls of Mormons, though. That is, there are plenty of opinion polls that show that Mormons† are generally not in favor of allowing legal same-sex marriages, but there don’t appear to be any easily allowable breakdowns that show whether there’s an age effect among Mormons that parallels that of the general population.††

Anyway, i’m curious whether younger Mormons have different views on the subject of legal recognition of same-sex marriage than older Mormons do. Anyone know if there are any reliable poll numbers on this issue?‡

* And, as i’ve written before, i really don’t get why it’s such a big deal to so many Mormons, but I recognize that it is.

** And it’s not that people tend to be less likely to approve of it as they get older—i’ve been watching the polls on this issue for some years, and it really is my birth year that seems to be the most reliable inflection point.

† Important caveat: I’m talking only about Mormons in the United States here. While i’d be interested to learn the attitudes of Mormons outside of the United States (particularly in jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are legally recognized) on this subject, it’s beyond the bounds of what i can deal with in a single blog post.

†† I did find a report of a poll that reports on the breakdown of recent opinion polling on the subject among Utahns, and it found sharp differences by both religion and age, but it didn’t provide any sort of cross-tabulation ability to figure out what the effect of religion and age was.

‡ And yeah, Gallup may have it, but i’m not going to shell out cash to get past their paywall just to look into this. Maybe i should clarify: Anyone know if there are any reliable poll numbers available for free on this issue?