"Bad Words"

As a general rule I find it very difficult to people who don’t share my religious beliefs to understand why we Mormons are so “uptight” or “funny” about taking the Lord’s name in vain. They can’t understand why we’re so bothered by it. I’ve even had some ask me “Why are you so afraid to say the name of someone you love?” I reply that it’s exactly because we do love Him so much that we are offended or even hurt by the use of His name as a curse word. 

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Problems, Solutions, and Gratitude

The United States of America has problems. Ignoring all of the foreign policy dilemmas, the US has major issues related to health care, education, equal opportunity, racism, and economic growth. These problems are not unique to America. It would be easy to find the flaws in other developed countries. Pointing out flaws is both simple and effortless. The hard part is finding solutions that cannot not only be passed by Congress, but can also be reasonably enforced and implemented.

Instead of trying to assert my intelligence by jumping on the blogging equivalent of a high horse and writing a one page solution for unsolvable major problems of the world, I instead want to highlight some simple everyday annoyances that should be legislated.

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Charity isn't Justice

Mormons are taught to take care of the poor. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are full of commandments, pleadings, admonitions, and assertions that we need to help the poor.[1] There is little disagreement about that fact, and the LDS Church does a significant amount of humanitarian work across the world. And Mormon people are charitable on an individual level in a variety of ways.[2]


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The Character Issue

I'm genuinely enthusiastic about voting in this year's mid-term elections in a way I often am not. 

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The Good Samaritan, or The Good Undocumented, Gay Migrant

When Christ shared his parable of the Good Samaritan (as recorded in Luke 10), he carefully tuned it to the context of his day. This made it a very provocative and compelling narrative. Because we often lack insight to the culture and context of that time, we tend to miss out on the full effect of his parable. To more completely appreciate Christ’s teachings here, we must first understand the context of his comments, and second, we ought to consider a modern application that similarly pushes boundaries in our own culture.

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Protecting our Natural Temples

My family recently visited Craters of the Moon National Park. Shortly after I returned I read a story from the Salt Lake Tribune entitled “Park aims to reduce congestion at Utah’s Delicate Arch trailhead.” The article said that Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is currently receiving 1,000,000 visitors a year, and in its peak season over 2,000 a day. This creates a problem since the trailhead parking lot can only accommodate 73 cars. People often park illegally which blocks traffic and the park authorities are trying to figure out a solution that will allow for as many visitors as possible while protecting the delicate dunes and sandstone arches in the park for future generations.

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9/11 and war

Another September 11th is here. Two years ago I wrote about what Mormons can learn about 9/11/01 from 9/11/1857. 

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Medicaid, Morality, and Mormonism

I have debated since I started this blog whether to directly address the issue of religious beliefs, whether my own or those of other Utahns. For many of us in Utah, our religious beliefs are not easily left out of anything. It's simply too fundamental a part of who we are. 

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Privilege, Job's Friends, and Ferguson

I recently listened to a captivating podcast about the Book of Job. There was a lot of good stuff in it, but one thing that jumped out at me as relevant to the tragedies going on in Ferguson (and elsewhere) was the discussion of Job's friends. When Job is in the depths of anger and frustration at the horrible things happening to him, his "comforters" set him straight: no, it isn't possible that Job didn't bring this malady upon himself via sin--God only punishes the wicked! God blesses the righteous--that's an axiom found throughout scripture! Job, you need to repent and admit you've done wrong!


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Moralier than Thou

BYU professor Ralph Hancock (somewhat) recently argued that modern liberals have thrown away morals altogether.

Okay, professor. I'll take your "moralier than thou" and raise you a "extra super duper moralier than thou":

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