Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The cult of the early riser

Can somebody explain why the church still does early morning seminary for high school students? I mean, we’ve known for years that teens really do generally need to sleep in later than those of other ages—but we make a big deal about getting up hyper-early to go to seminary classes.

So why? Why do we put our teens through something that is so clearly bad for them and call it a virtue?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Attaching a name to a story

So i was paging through the August Ensign, and i noticed that in the very last article in the issue the author talked about growing up in an abusive home. However, the name of the author looked like a real name, not “Name Withheld”.

I can only assume that the editors responsible for this oversight have been taken out and flogged.

p.s. Actually, to be entirely honest, i welcome this. I mean—and i’m dead serious in this postscript—if we regularly attach things such as abuse only to nameless folks, or at least real folks who are still ashamed enough about it or still feel so injured by it that they won’t let their names be attached to the story, how will we ever really be able to combat such thing amongst us?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Timely thoughts from times past

Just saw this bit, and i thought it was worth quoting:

We ought always to be aware of those prejudices which sometimes so strangely present themselves, and are so congenial to human nature, against our friends, neighbors, and brethren of the world, who choose to differ from us in opinion and in matters of faith. Our religion is between us and our God. Their religion is between them and their God.

It just seemed worth quoting, given certain hot-button arguments going on right now in the US.

Oh—and the source of the quote? Joseph Smith. (It’s from a letter he co-wrote to Edward Partridge and the church at large from Liberty Jail, Liberty, Missouri, dated 20 March 1839.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunday is a special day

When i was growing up, i never really understood why people felt the need to dress up when they went to church.* I heard a lot of people explain it, though, by saying that the sabbath is a special day, and so we need to dress differently on Sundays than we do on other days.

You know, that actually makes a lot of sense to me.** However, what doesn’t make sense to me is why that means all the lawyers and bankers and such out there end up wearing the same clothes to church on Sunday as they wear to work most of the other days of the week—doesn’t that mean that, for them, Sunday is not a special day?

* Okay, full disclosure: To some extent, i still don’t.

** I’m completely serious about that. And that’s why i’m left with the question i close the post with.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sometimes dissonance is fun

A few months ago there was an announcement of a stake activity for young women in association with a church broadcast for them. The stake activity was to feature “workshop classes…in nail, skin, and hair care”. I really hope that the church broadcast that followed focused on how it’s what’s on the inside, not on the outside, that really counts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The sabbath is a relative thing, really

I may have said this before, and this isn’t limited to Mormons, but it bears saying today anyway: Why are so many Mormons so into the idea that it’s a horrible, horrible thing for businesses like grocery stores to be open on Sunday? I mean, why is it so important to us that observant Seventh-Day Adventists and Jews have more trouble doing their shopping than the rest of us?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In which David B makes a political statement

During my exile in Utah, i noticed that there were a lot of ballot initiatives. (I mean, not a lot by California standards, but still a lot.) For those unfamiliar with ballot initiatives, they’re a process by which a proposed law gets placed on the ballot at an election (along with the various candidates for public office), and if the ballot initiative gets enough votes, it becomes law.

Anyway, Jeanne and i have been reading through the church’s redress petition to the United States in the late 1830s, and i just have to say that i’m rather surprised that any Mormon with a sense of history would be fully comfortable with the whole idea of a local majority making legal decisions.

Friday, August 13, 2010

An unexpected biography

Thurl Bailey played basketball for the Utah Jazz from 1983 to 1991, and currently lives in Salt Lake City. He is also a Mormon. All of these things would seem to go together.

The fun thing about this is that he wasn’t a Mormon when he played for the Jazz—he became a Mormon some years later, when he was playing professional basketball in Italy.

Not at all significant, really, i just found it an amusing bit of unexpectedness.

p.s. And he has an amazing bass—basso profondo, really—singing voice.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

White Lines (Don’t Do It)

Reposted, with permission, from the Combs Family* blog:

There was a woman dealing little baggies of a powdery white substance out of the trunk of her car in the church parking lot today.

Suspicious, huh?

Rewind to Relief Society…

“Hey ladies, Sister Blank ended up with a Costco size box of baking powder and won't be able to use it all before it expires. She has separated it out into some bags and if you would like to take some stop by her car after church. She doesn’t want it to go to waste.”

A bunch of Mormon ladies in a parking lot attracting attention. Over baking supplies.

Well, I thought it was funny.

And so did i, i must say.

* Written by Meggan Combs, someone who i actually know not just from the ’net, but from Real Life™. Yes, believe it or not, such things are possible these days.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blatant heresy

Why are Mormons so into having choristers lead us whenever we sing? It’s really bizarre, particularly when you consider that it’s something a lot of other religious traditions do just fine without.

Us, though, we just have to have someone waving at us while we sing, even to the point of occasionally press-ganging people who would rather not into performing that role. Why?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

True confessions

A moment from my life:

Last night i walked down the stairs and found my 11- and 9-year-old daughters reading the Song of Solomon from a very, very modern translation (The Message, to be specific). Interspersed among their reading of the book, they were having a discussion about healthy and unhealthy relationships, particularly but not exclusively romantic ones.

The fact that this all happened spontaneously in children i’ve had a hand in raising is probably enough to convince a good chunk of the Mormons out there that i and my whole family are on the proverbial highway to hell, and i’m pressing down hard on the accelerator.

Further, that stumbling on this was a proud parenting moment for me probably simply affirms their conclusions.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Really, sitting works just as well

Why are some people so utterly insistent about standing for intermediate hymns? I mean, i get that in some congregations the tradition is to stand for them, but the way some people (often choristers, actually) act, you’d think a congregation not standing for a song that happens to be wedged between speakers was a symbol of mass apostasy.