Mouths of Babes — Does Can Mean Should?

March 1, 2013

O be wise, what can I say more?

- Jacob 6:12

A Mormon boy from an affluent neighborhood in Utah, barely 18 years old, will leave a few days after graduating from high school for the crushing poverty, suffering, and misery of Sierra Leone. This isn’t the plot of an off-color Broadway musical. It’s going to happen in a couple of months to a real person.[1] He’s not going to experience mere culture shock; it will be an entirely different world, a different universe. Nothing in the boy’s lived experience up until this point is going to have prepared him for even the smallest percentage of what he is going to observe landing there. I hope and pray he survives!

There isn’t much difference between an 18 year old boy and a 19 year old boy — both are teenagers still, both usually as green as can be. On paper it’s a wash. Read the rest of this entry »


Latent Racism, Orientalism and “Magic Underwear” in American Society and Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign

January 16, 2012

African Muslim Men in Religious Attire, source http://www.thingsoftheday.com/?p=3285

As I made my way through the crowded local Costco recently, I stepped back a moment and appreciated the diversity surrounding me. Although approximately 92% of the population in the UK is white, about 45% of the remaining 8% of the UK population that are ethnic minorities live in London. And we’ve enjoyed having a high concentration of this 45% in and around the area of London where I currently reside. We have become accustomed to seeing people in their religiously significant daily dress in all circumstances, from the morning school run, to regular visits to the supermarket, to going to movies in the cinema and just about everywhere else. (In fact, it is not unusual for us to see such dress in our LDS ward on Sunday as investigators from all of these ethnic and religious backgrounds politely keep their commitment to the missionaries working in the area to visit us and see what the Church is all about.)
Read the rest of this entry »


Like a Trampled Flag on a City Street

August 10, 2011

I enjoyed and was humbled by Aaron R.’s great post today about the London riots. We live in neighboring wards in London’s eastern outer boroughs so we have both experienced the riots first hand, though thankfully my particular neighborhood was not touched, though others in my ward were more affected. His post reminds me once more that he is a better man than I — and he’s a sociologist, so I understand the charitable and analytical place that his post is coming from. I am grateful for his good example! He reflects well on Latter-day Saints with this perspective. Read the rest of this entry »


Where Does It End? The Real Danger in Warren Smith’s Perspective

June 3, 2011

Dave noted yesterday at Times and Seasons the inherent incivility of journalist Warren Cole Smith’s recent dismissal in Patheos of Mormons’ eligibility for the office of President of the United States precisely because of their religion. I found Dave’s analysis cogent and important. My concern with WCS’s viewpoint runs deeper than whether he and those who share his views have simply departed from the bounds of civil discourse. Read the rest of this entry »


Revisiting the “Temple Worthiness” Requirement for LDS Employees

March 4, 2010

It is common knowledge that the LDS Church requires its employees, whether they work at the Church Office Building as a professional accountant, as an engineer in the former LDS-owned “Deseret Gym,” or as a custodian* in a temple or LDS chapel, to be temple recommend holding members of the Church. But how attenuated is that requirement in terms of people supplying things to the LDS Church?

Consider as a case in point the email (below the fold) I just got soliciting extras for an LDS Church film about prisoners of war during WWII (and, if you are interested and meet the requirements, by all means apply! :) ):

Read the rest of this entry »


The LDS Conspiracy Fails Again!

January 15, 2008

Of course you all know which conspiracy I mean, right? The conspiracy of “the Brethren” to promulgate to the world and to the membership of the LDS Church “obfuscation, evasion, and half-truths,” (as my friend Equality would put it), regarding certain historical events in the lives of Joseph Smith and others. Well, this week it failed, again!

Read the rest of this entry »


“Bind the Lord”

October 22, 2007

When I was a Ward Mission Leader recently, one of the Assistants to the Mission President (“AP”) had the idea for a quarterly theme to help motivate the missionaries and to bring down the blessings of God for our mission. The unfortunate title he chose for this campaign: “BIND THE LORD”. Read the rest of this entry »


RE: Long-Lost Musty Metaphors of Yesteryear

October 22, 2007

Today I reminded a colleague of the oft-quoted maxim in patent law that “a patent may not, like a ‘nose of wax,’ be twisted one way to avoid anticipation [finding of invalidity because something in the prior art already did what the patent describes] and another to find infringement.” He just looked at me blankly and asked “what in the world is a ‘nose of wax’?!?” and suggested that I must be making that up or misquoting something. Read the rest of this entry »


The World is not Your Ashtray

December 12, 2006

This morning on the way to work, the woman driving in front of me down the 75 tossed a spent cigarette out of her car window. I watched it bounce on the pavement a few times before it hit my car and flew off elswhere. I wanted to get out and tell her that the world is not her ashtray!

One of my pet peeves (note the use of the term “pet peeve”, which means “a minor annoyance that can instill extreme frustration in an individual”- this is my acknowledgement that the frustration expressed here is over a trivial thing that just happens to annoy me) is people who smoke and then casually toss out their cigarette butts into nature, onto the street, or whatever, caring not one whit about where it lands or how it adds to the trash already inundating our streets and the nature that surrounds them. To me, it shows extreme disregard for other people and environmental hazards.

For one thing, people don’t like to drive down the road or walk down the sidewalk and see used cigarette butts nearly everywhere the eye looks. They are ugly- eyesores- and they contribute greatly to a general impression of trashiness. I don’t want my town to seem trashy!

For another thing, people throwing out their still smoking cigarette butts seem entirely impervious to the danger of starting a fire. The climate in Dallas this last couple of years has been much drier than average, meaning that the brush and grass surrounding our roads is more like fuel than vegetation. When I drive at night and some careless litterbug tosses out a live cigarette butt, the accompanying shower of glowing, red sparks across the roadway is impressive. But don’t these people think about the fact that this impressive display could start a fire, especially given the current tinder-like capacity of the vegetation surrounding the roads?

Come on people- you already know that smoking is disgusting in today’s society. There is no reason to turn the world into your ashtray! :)

[/rant about meaningless pet peeve]


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