The 11-year-old children I teach at church will not soon forget today’s Sunday School lesson. We accidentally coined a new word: Thart.
The lesson was on Faith and the early Mormon pioneers. We were talking about how God often has a different plan for you than you have planned for yourself, but that if you will trust Him, He will make you a better person than you could have made yourself and lead you to better things than you could have chosen for yourself.
One of the children was trying to say that Heavenly Father knows better what is good for you than what you thought of. But instead of saying “thought” he accidentally said “thart”. Continue reading
Tagged: children, faith, funny, humor, laughter, lds, loud-laughter, mormon, Sunday School, teaching, temptation, thart, trust, words
Those of you who follow me on social media sites like Facebook or Google+ know that I am a fan of Orson Scott Card’s book Ender’s Game. It is one of my favorite books. I have been anticipating the movie adaptation for some time.
In preparation for the release of the movie on November 1st, I read the book out loud to my children. I have read the book more than 5 times, but this was the first time I read it out loud. Yes, the book is very violent and some of you will legitimately question my parental judgement for reading it to my children. I did soften some of the language as I read, but I didn’t skip over any of the violence. It was a great experience and the kids loved it.
(Reading a book out loud to someone else is a very different experience than reading silently to oneself in the same way that hearing it read is different than reading it; you notice things you might have missed otherwise. I highly recommend it.)
So when I went with my wife to see the movie on opening weekend, the book was very fresh in my mind, and more so because I had read it out loud.
Be warned that I am not a film or book reviewer. This is not an organized review. It’s just some of my personal, unorganized thoughts after having seen the film.
First some mostly positive observations: Continue reading
Tagged: adaptations, books, criticism, ender's game, entertainment, movie, movie review, Orson Scott Card, review, reviews, science fiction
As usual, much of the news coverage of the “government shutdown” has been unbelievably superficial; full of sound-bites and oversimplifications. The way they have framed the narrative tends to favor the Democrats. Here are some relevant facts about the “shutdown” that many journalists have ignored or spun. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, only to draw attention to things that many journalists have neglected to mention but that might be important to understanding the shutdown as well as placing blame:
* In 1974 the Democratic-Party controlled House and Senate passed the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act which shifted budgetary control away from the President and Executive branch to the Congress.
* The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act resulted in 6 government “shutdowns” before 1980 in which the Congress failed to agree on a budget. However, during all of these budget disputes, federal employees continued to operate normally and once a budget bill was finally passed it would retroactively fund them. Continue reading
Tagged: blame, budget, Democratic Party, democrats, government, government shutdown, history, political parties, political tactics, politics, Republican Party, republicans, Shenanigans
It is fascinating to watch language usage and meaning change over time. I am especially interested in instances where semantic shifts cause readers to anachronistically misinterpret texts that were written with an older sense.
For example, the word “buxom” once meant “obedient or compliant”. Later it came to mean “happy or lively”. But when a modern reader encounters a “buxom damsel” described in text from the past they will likely be thinking more of her shape than her disposition, and in so doing misread the author’s intent. Continue reading
Tagged: anachronism, buxom, english, etymology, Hƿæt, language, linguistics, misinterpretation, obnoxious, orthography, semantics, what
One of the memorable accounts in The Book of Mormon is the confrontation of the anti-Christian atheist named Korihor and the prophet Alma related in Alma Chapter 30.
A quick review:
Korihor undermines the faith of the people by teaching a number of ideas that appear quite familiar to a modern, secular audience. He is eventually brought before the prophet Alma and their debate culminates in Korihor demanding a sign; a demonstration of God’s power that will convince him that God exists.
Despite warnings from Alma that God will smite him if Korihor continues to deny the existence of God, Korihor continues to demand a sign. Alma declares that Korihor’s sign will be that he will be struck dumb. Korihor immediately finds himself unable to speak.
And it as this point in the account that I want to take a closer look.
It has long been popular among certain self-identified Mormon intellectuals to argue that, contrary to what one might suppose, doubt is not inimical to faith. Some even claim that doubt and faith are not only compatible, but even interdependent faces of the same coin.
I first heard arguments along these lines well over a decade ago from a BYU English professor who, when he taught the about deconstruction as a theory of literary criticism, liked to deconstruct the binary of faith and doubt to demonstrate that they really are the same thing.
Even at that time it was a well-worn chestnut.
And yet now, years later, this argument is still regularly brought out of the stables and trotted around the intellectual show-room as if it were a new and exciting concept, instead of being put out to pasture (or maybe put down and sold to a glue factory) as the reductionist, derivative, sloppy thinking it really is. Continue reading
While a lot of my blogging focuses on topics of religion and politics, long-time readers of my blog know that I have many other interests. One of those interests is puppetry. I’ve been performing as a puppeteer alongside my wife, and my cousins, and some good friends for over a decade.
Until recently, our focus has been on live performances in our Utah community where we have built up a bit of a local reputation. We teach puppet performance workshops periodically as well.
But now we are shifting away from live performance in favor of internet video. We recently launched our own web-based puppet series for children on YouTube called Rusty & Ollie’s Fun, Facts, and Follies.
We will be releasing new episodes every other week. Continue reading
Happy Mother’s Day! Below are some excerpts from my own wonderful mother’s testimony of motherhood, written in 2004.
Photos of My Mother
“When I got married, I just thought it would be another challenge. Little did I know what I was beginning. Of course, having married a wonderful, inspired, intelligent man who was not competitive, I didn’t have any adjustment to marriage. It was babies that were my Waterloo. I was never baby hungry and I was never domestic. I don’t like to decorate houses or clean them or do anything but live in them comfortably. I was used to doing things very well or not doing them at all. And I was used to getting a great deal of frequent, positive attention for the things I did.”
“So when I had my first baby, I was stunned. It was so much harder than anything I had ever done and yet I was never good enough and no one cared how hard I was working. It wasn’t pregnancy or delivery. It was the day to day living, realizing that whatever I did would have profound implications for many generations.”
For the kingdom of heaven is likened unto an hospital. And behold great plagues came upon the land, and the people were brought low by all manner of sickness; some with the pox, some with fevers, some with the palsy.
Therefore with great lore and wortcunning the master physician prepared remedies of bitter herbs and strong tonics. And so great was the number of the sick that the master physician called servants and sent them forth to carry the prescribed elixirs unto the sick that they might be healed. Continue reading
Tagged: applicability, christianity, death, gospel, healing, lds, medicine, mormon, parable, physician, prophets, sickness, stories, symbolism, wisdom
One of the most frustrating things about modern politics is the “all-or-nothing” approach to solving problems. For some reason we feel compelled to make sweeping comprehensive changes instead of taking smaller piecemeal steps for things on which we CAN compromise.
I have argued previously that so-called “Marriage Privatization” is not a real solution to the issue of same-sex marriage.
But there is a compromise on the issue to which I think most conservatives would have few objections. It’s called “Sex-Neutral” or “Sex-Agnostic” Domestic Partnerships. Continue reading
Category: politics, Religion
Tagged: benefits, civil unions, Compromise, gay marriage, government, law, rights, same-sex marriage, sex-agnostic partnerships, sex-neutral partnerships, solutions, traditional marriage