Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Changing rules

Unless i read it wrong, the most recent version of the church’s administrative handbook* says that the wearing of white shirts and ties should be encouraged among those who are asked to conduct the administration of the sacrament, but that—and this is the interesting part—white shirts and ties aren’t to be required of those who administer the ordinance.

I wonder if the widespread local de jure rules on white shirts and ties while administering the sacrament will actually go away, or if they’ll simply be replaced by de facto versions of the rule.

* Now called just Handbook, though it’ll always be the GHI to me!

Friday, November 26, 2010


What’s with padded folding chairs where the relief society meets, but hard chairs everywhere else (at least in most meetinghouses i’ve been to)? Are women’s coccyges really that much more delicate than those of males?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Politicians as leaders

So my stake was reorganized Sunday before last, and the new stake president is Sheldon Fisher. Interestingly, he has a political past—he unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Don Young in the most recent Republican primary here, running to Young’s right (which, really, is pretty hard to do).

In my memory, political figures in ward and stake leadership tend to be better at keeping politics, even to the level of code words, out of the pulpit than those who aren’t political figures.* (Maybe they know the game, so they know how to avoid it.) I’ll be interested to see if this observation continues to hold true.

* I use the phrase “in my memory” on purpose—i do realize that this hasn’t always been the case (see Benson, Ezra Taft and Roberts, B.H., among many others). My personal memories of these sorts of things, though, only go back to the early 80s or so.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Why is it that, as far as i can tell, the church only publishes quadruple combinations with leather (or at least leather-like) binding? What if i want a hardbound copy of the scriptures? I’m limited to separate volumes for the Bible and everything else. Why not let those of us who prefer to have everything in one book have them in cheaper options?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mormons actually vote in other countries, too, you know

There’s a general perception that Mormons in the United States are, by and large, sociopolitically conservative.* Certainly, more of the Mormons in Congress are Republican than Democratic—i’m curious, though, whether Mormon politicians in other countries are generally affiliated with their countries’ conservative parties. (The only list of currently serving Mormon politicians from outside of the United States i can find doesn’t give enough information to figure that out.)

* Some say that that’s evidence that Mormonism necessarily leads to a sociopolitically conservative outlook, but that’s not a defensible position as long as the potential confound of region isn’t factored out—and i haven’t yet seen a study of Mormon sociopolitical leanings that does so.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nylons and the oral tradition

The overreliance of Mormons on what i sometimes call (for lack of a better label) the “oral tradition” troubles me. This is particularly the case for a religion like ours that leans so far to the orthopraxy side of things.

Specific case:

When we lived in Florida, most of the women in our stake didn’t wear nylons to church. In fact, it was generally regarded as a silly thing to do—we were in Florida, after all, and nylons are a rather warm bit of clothing.

Now that we live in Alaska, as far as i can tell, nobody cares one way or the other—some women wear nylons to church while others don’t, and it’s not a big deal.

I know women who live in other locations, though, who have been taught over the pulpit by bishops and stake presidents that it’s a moral sin—yes, that’s not made up—for women not to wear nylons to church.

Sorry, folks, but i’d have to think that if it’s not a sin in Florida or Alaska, it’s also not a sin in Maryland or even Utah.

(Of course, i still remember a post from a while age on the Spanish Fork 401st Ward blog where the question was posed whether nylons are a “spiritual requirement for sisters, or old-men fetish?” Well, given that there really apparently is a word in Japanese porn for that, i know what my guess is…)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Why do so many speakers feel the urge to pepper their speeches in church with glurge? Particularly when a quick trip to Snopes could demonstrate the falsity of much of what’s out there—scroll through the list on the glurge page, and you’re bound to see a lot of thing you’ve heard before in sacrament meetings, i’d wager.)

It’s a serious question—especially since i have to wonder whether the Holy Spirit is going to testify to the truth of something that quite definitely isn’t.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Counterintuitive elections

So it’s election night here in the United States, and ABC News has just projected that Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, will retain his seat (which hadn’t been at all a given before today).

This means that, to what i assume is the annoyance of lots of Mormons in this country, the most powerful Mormon elected officeholder in the United States will continue to be a member of the left-of-center Democratic Party.