A Few Thoughts on Alma 1

(v. 19-20):  It seems strange that the proud persecute the humble.  But the proud are acutely and naggingly aware of the distance between who they are and who they purport to be and they become convinced they can narrow the gap by continually reinforcing the difference between their supposed selves and the people they make out the humble around them to be. (more…)

Published in: on July 12, 2007 at 2:51 am  Comments (4)  

Gravity (2 0f 5)

When my Father finally arrived in Denver, Teresa was not at the terminal to greet him. Confused, my Father claimed his luggage and waited a few minutes before he was paged. When he found her, Teresa was in hysterics; she grabbed him and, looking at him through streaming tears said, pleadingly, as if he might fix whatever was wrong, “Kimball, mom and dad are missing.�? My beleaguered and bewildered Father spent the night comforting his sister, even as he fought his own doubts and sorrow. The next morning, an entourage including family, friends, and a general authority were waiting at the airport in Salt Lake—but my grandparents were not there. (more…)

Published in: on December 14, 2006 at 12:29 pm  Comments (5)  

Gravity (1 of 5)

My Father has never been one to speak much of himself; he is almost painfully shy about being honored, even in private. Not surprisingly, then, I have only ever heard snippets of his life story. Still, I have become acutely interested of late in better understanding my heritage generally and my Father’s story specifically. This summer, with his begrudging permission, I read through his old journals and letters, marveled as I watched his story come to life, and tasted—though distantly—the deep sorrow and joy that run like rivers through his history. (more…)

Published in: on December 11, 2006 at 12:35 pm  Comments (6)  

Daily Discipleship

In her thoughtful and enlightening book Leaving Eden, Amber Esplin tells the story of a young girl named Judith. Near the end of the novel, Judith’s brother dies and she confronts the chasm that opens in his absence. Though Judith must at first face the bitter sadness that inevitably accompanies death, she finds some catharsis in the Gospel and eventually settles into a tenuous peace. She finds, in fact, that her brother’s death gives substance to the spiritual forms that had formerly seemed, to her, quite unreal. This epiphany grants Judith a new perspective on life; in the novel’s closing pages, Esplin gives voice to some of Judith’s resulting thoughts: (more…)

Published in: on December 8, 2006 at 12:15 pm  Comments (9)  

The Heart of the Matter

Every ten years you live, your heart pumps enough blood to fill a rocket’s fuel tank. It does this by contracting and relaxing approximately once per second, over and over and over and over again, during every moment you breath. Every cell in your body has constant need both of new oxygen and of waste removal and blood serves both purposes. Your tissues can survive a few minutes without blood but anything more than that and they start to die–your heart can’t take any time off, it has to keep pumping interminably until the minute you die.

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Published in: on October 7, 2006 at 12:31 pm  Comments (2)  

Joseph and the Endowment: To See the Face of God

Note: This entry (part of an e-mail to my parents) came last fall as I read Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

…while I encountered this new question this morning, I also came upon a wonderful new insight. I have always wondered about the Endowment ceremony. Parts of the Temple have always seemed familiar to me, but parts of them have made little sense. Indeed, I suppose my question has often been: how does the Temple ceremony, holistically, fit into our theology. I understand, to some limites extent, anyway, baptism for the dead and sealings–both are necessary to bind us together as families and to seal us to God for eternity. But, why the endowment? I had previously read about the “endowment of power” serving to empower (by definition) the pioneers for their journey westward. Similarly, I had often felt that a worthily-received endowment prepared a missionary for his own furnace of affliction–steeling him against the flames to come. Still, all of this was limited to a rather visceral knowledge–something I believed and felt but could not explain or cognitively place.
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Published in: on September 13, 2006 at 10:36 am  Comments (5)  

And What is it We Should Hope For?

Somewhere, tonight, a young woman sits cowering in a corner. She has just been raped and the man who did it told her not to tell anyone, ever. She feels guilty and confused, afraid and deceived, hopeless and dirty. Thoughts run through her head like hyenas, and she looks around listlessly, longing for someone into whose arms she can run–someone she can trust innately.

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Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:19 pm  Comments (4)  

Because She is My Mother

Though this is a couple of days late, I hope you (especially you mothers) will enjoy it. Please forgive the explanatory tone at the beginning of the post. I gave this as a talk in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday and there were a number of invesitgators present, so I fashioned it for their ears.

Some twenty one hundred years ago, a Prophet named Helaman was also an army commander. He led a small force of just two thousand warriors—all of them young, all of them inexperienced, and all of them volunteers. Early in Helaman’s campaign against the Lamanites, he and his two thousand sons, as he called them, were faced with a difficult choice. The Lamanites had been pursuing Helaman and his sons for two and one half days. The pursuit was so vigorous that Helaman and his army had to rise before dawn and march into the night to keep ahead of their pursuers. Strangely, though, on the third day, the Lamanite army stopped dead in their tracks. Due to a breakdown in communication, Helaman and his two thousand warriors did not know why the Lamanites had stopped. Was it because Helaman’s co-commander, Antipus, had engaged them from the rear? If so, Antipus would be in desperate need of help. Or, was it a ruse—were the Lamanites trying to draw Helaman and his two thousand s (more…)

Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:17 pm  Comments (9)  

Experiment on the Word

Some months ago, I was involved in an exchange of editorials and letters to the editor in the Salt Lake Tribune. At issue was the rationality of believing in Mormonism, or, more generally, accepting any kind of religion. One author wrote that no discriminating person could accept such silly precepts as those espoused by the Mormon Church. Drawing an analogy from C.S. Lewis, I returned that belief is not only rational but necessary and universal. Another letter-writer responded that no, my analysis was not correct, faith and rationality exist only in separate spheres—never the twain shall meet.

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Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Easter Hymn

He kneels alone–His friends asleep–the press is bearing down.
His blood is seeping out like wine, He claws the barren ground.

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Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

A People of Sorrow and Acquainted with Grief

While teaching in the MTC, I realized I could not let “my” missionaries enter the field without telling them the truth: a mission is a difficult, taxing, and often harsh experience. Oh, there are miracles a plenty, to be sure, but most days are long, most doors are slammed, and many people are rude. I made a point of looking each of my Elders and Sisters in the eye and saying this may be the hardest thing you will ever do. I knew I taught truth, at least during that lesson, because I learned from what I taught. I articulated feelings through which I had never thought.

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Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Alternative Explanation

Elder Maxwell once commented that most who are not members of the Mormon Church are eager to accept any explanation for the restoration of the church and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon–except the one Joseph Smith gave. I have included here a link to an article from a dearly beloved local journalist who will remain nameless, but whose name sounds an awful lot like Meggy Petcher Snack: http://sltrib.com/faith/ci_3401255. This article deals with a Mr. Shugarts, who is writing a book to help readers decode the sequel to The Davinci Code (an interesting strategy since the sequel, of course, has not yet been released). In any case, Dan Brown’s new book focuses on the Masons, and part of Shugart’s book describes the little-known links between Masonry and Mormonism.

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Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

And What Is It We Should Hope For?

Somewhere, tonight, a young woman sits cowering in a corner. She has just been raped and the man who did it told her not to tell anyone, ever. She feels guilty and confused, afraid and deceived, hopeless and dirty. Thoughts run through her head like hyenas, and she looks around listlessly, longing for someone into whose arms she can run–someone she can trust innately.

(more…)

Published in: on August 1, 2006 at 5:57 am  Leave a Comment  

An Open Letter to Anonymous

Dear Anonymous–

Judging from your recent comments, I sense you hold very little esteem for Mormons. I also perceive, in fact you have stated explicitly, you are a believing Christian. In a sense, your feelings about my Church reflect a general divide between those who consider themselves mainstream Christians and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I find this divide both ironic and unfortunate because I do not believe we stand that far apart on many important theological issues–indeed, I consider myself both an Orthodox Mormon and a born-again Christian. I hope I can persuade you, even if only for a moment, that I can be both of these things and that this does not create an issoluble paradox.

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Published in: on August 1, 2006 at 5:51 am  Leave a Comment