Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I can’t help but ask these questions

Was it evil of us to have our family home evening this week on the subject of how to properly MST3k overly earnest church videos?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The most important morpheme

One last Xmas thought, and this time a completely serious one: Why do so many people worry so much about keeping the Christ in Christmas? Seems to me that it’s actually more important (and probably more difficult) to keep the mass in Christmas.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Keeping the X in Xmas

When people say we ought to put the Christ back in Christmas, i heartily concur. In fact, i think that that doesn’t go far enough. I say we ought to put the voiceless velar fricative back at the beginning of Chanukah, and the penultimate stress back at the end of Kwanzaa, and the…

No, it’s not original with me. Wish i’d been clever enough that it was, though.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The true meaning of Xmas

And today, of all days, let’s all remember the true meaning of Xmas: birthday cake for Daddy!

This message brought to you by the Committee to Remind Alaska’s Families that David B’s father was born on 24 December.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wasting an afternoon

Scriptural thought: Lehi states that the Fall was necessary for Adam and Eve to have had children, but he doesn’t state that the Fall had to happen precisely the way it did. Think that one through next time you have an afternoon to waste on pure doctrinal speculation.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The prophets vs. the scriptures

A rather frequent Mormon meme that actually bothers me pretty intensely: The idea that if we had to choose between having the scriptures or having living prophets, we should choose the living prophets ’cause they can simply give us what’s already in the scriptures as well as anything else we need.

This, of course, is the reason that the prophet Lehi felt free to leave the brass plates behind in Jerusalem. Right?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Law of Socialism…errm, Consecration

A serious note, because i think it’s something we need to be reminded of occasionally: The Law of Consecration≠the United Order. The United Order was a method of living the Law of Consecration, but we can live that law without the benefit of such an order being set up.

(Not that i’m doing it myself, of course, but it’s worth keeping in mind anyway.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Defining “the minimal piercing of the ears”

So our oldest is about to get her ears pierced,* and it’s brought to mind the statement on tattoos and piercings that Gordon B. Hinckley offered in 2000:

The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have declared that we discourage tattoos and also “the piercing of the body for other than medical purposes.” We do not, however, take any position “on the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings”—one pair.

I remember this well, because i was teaching at Brigham Young University at the time, and the dress and grooming standards were rapidly changed so that “excessive” ear piercing for women was defined as more than one per ear, rather than more than two per ear.

This leads to an intriguing question. We’ll take it as a given that current church policy allows only one piercing per ear—but i see no requirement for those piercings to be in the earlobe. Our kid’s going to get her ears pierced in her earlobes, but presumably a devout Mormon woman could have piercings through her ear cartilage, as long as she only had one per ear. Right? Let me know if i’m missing something here, ’cause that’s the way it reads to me (and to Jeanne, for what it’s worth).

* This has nothing to do with the fact that it’s nearing Xmas, despite the calendar—we’re actually a few months overdue on when we told her we’d let her get it done.

Monday, December 14, 2009

An extra-special special musical number

This entry comes courtesy of guest contributor Heather the Mama Duk, who writes that this is snarkworthy enough that it’s just begging to be posted here—and she’s right. So, in her words:

Today our special musical number was extra special. It was six women singing and was billed as a “double trio”.

A double trio you say?

But of course. Because the word “sextet” is not appropriate for church no matter that it is what a group of six people singing is called in the musical world.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Family home evening refreshments, part two

Another thought on the over-the-pulpit instruction i’ve received that family home evening doesn’t count as family home evening unless refreshments (specifically, sweets) are served. Jeanne’s reaction to that was to realize that we now have a church-approved definition of family home evening: A caloric bribing of children to sit still that begins and ends with a prayer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Family home evening refreshments

Some months ago i was instructed, from over the pulpit in sacrament meeting, that family home evening doesn’t count as family home evening unless refreshments (specifically, sweets) are served. I’m glad to know that my church leaders are on the lookout for ways to promote unhealthy associations between wholesome family activities and the holy trinity of fat/​sugar/​jello—that’s the sort of thing that helps me sleep better at night.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The family’s under attack? When?

I’ve been thinking about it, and i’ve realized much of what it is that bothers me about claims that the family is “under attack” (whatever that actually means)—the evidences supporting that claim are nearly always purely anecdotal, and terribly subject to confirmation bias. For example (to present an anecdote i’ve actually heard), i’ve heard evidences such as someone criticizing a family’s size presented as proof that the family is under attack. Really? Has anyone ever told these people that they have a very nice family? Shouldn’t that be taken as evidence that the family is not under attack?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Naming practices

Jeanne and i only had female children, but if we’d had a male child i might have pushed for naming him Thyson (i could make a case that it was a variant of Tison, i suppose) so that everyone could bear testimony in his name along with Jesus’s.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Children and (pictures of) Jesus

I’ve started hearing, as proof of children’s spirituality, the fact that they’re so easily able to identify pictures of Jesus. Um, dude? First of all, we don’t know what Jesus looked like, and so there are a lot of different-looking representations of him around—find one that doesn’t match with what you’ve taught your children to identify, and you might be surprised at how unable children are to identify pictures of Jesus.* Also, take a child growing up in one of the completely non-Xian parts of the world, and i bet that child won’t be able to pass your spirituality test. You’re saying that those kids aren’t as spiritual as the ones who live near you?** How, um, lucky of your kids to live where they do.

* Yes, i realize the sort of person who makes such claims will cite that as proof that those aren’t what Jesus really looks like. I’m not even going to try to argue with that sort of twisted illogic, though.
** I do realize that there are some people who hold such positions. The technical term for such people, of course, is “idiots”.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Feeling Christ’s presence

I keep hearing people in church say that the Book of Mormon is really cool ’cause they feel Christ’s presence so clearly in it, more so than in any other book. It makes me wonder: Am i the only person in the church who finds Christ’s presence most clearly felt in the New Testament, followed by the book of Doctrine and Covenants, followed by the Old Testament, then the Pearl of Great Price, and least of all in the Book of Mormon?

Yeah, probably. Oh well.