Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

Posts Tagged ‘Mormon Culture’

How To Get Ahead In Hollywood (aka Maybe Those Roadshows Did Have Some Practical Value After All)

Posted by Shawn L on March 31, 2008

heigl2.jpgSurely this is one of the strangest aftershocks of the so-called “Mitt Moment.”   

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Humor, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Why Are Utahns So Depressed?

Posted by Andrew on March 26, 2008

DepressedA recent news article cites a study that portrays Utah as the most depressed state in the U.S. The article suggests Mormon culture is at least partly to blame for Utahns’ depression, and features photos of a pill bottle and a depressed-looking woman superimposed over the Salt Lake temple.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Depression, Mormon Culture, Utah | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

Making Peace With The Easter Bunny

Posted by Shawn L on March 21, 2008

eb.jpgAfter a year off, the Easter Bunny is scheduled to make a return visit to our home this weekend.  My wife and I, parents of three young daughters, have been mulling over this decision for the past few weeks and, quite honestly, it may change in the next 48 hours.   Last year, we decided we were giving up the Easter Bunny altogether on the notion that it unnecessarily drew attention away from the more sacred aspects of the holiday.  Not a bad idea in principle, right?  Well . . .

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Humor, Mormon Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Honest Disagreement with Church Policy and Doctrine

Posted by Kerry on March 18, 2008

Last month, the Church released a statement regarding Peter Danzig’s (a member of the Church’s Orchestra at Temple Square in SLC) public disagreement surrounding same-gender marriage.[1] It appears that Peter and his wife were very active members of the Church, serving and attending in their local ward. But they disagreed with a 1st Presidency letter sent to local leaders back in 2006 “urging members to ‘express themselves’ on a forthcoming vote in the United States Senate relating to the definition of marriage.”[2]

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Church News, Faith, Mormon Culture, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Reflections On My First Sunstone Symposium

Posted by Shawn L on March 17, 2008

sunstone1.jpgThis weekend, I (along with my co-blogger, Andrew) attended my first Sunstone Symposium this past weekend in Claremont, California.  You’ll note from its title that this post does not aspire to be a comprehensive report of the weekend’s events.   But, in hopes of disabusing people of the same sorts of prejudices I held for so long (as explained below), let me share with you a few thoughts about my experience.   

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture, Mormon History, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 46 Comments »

The iConfessional: Offering Peace To The Internet-Savvy Sinner

Posted by Shawn L on March 14, 2008

ages.jpgSites where readers can share all of their dirty little secrets in sweet, sweet anonymity have long been a staple of the Internet. While blogs like Postsecret have turned such catharsis into an art form, these sites, more commonly, are places for folks simply to swap stories, brag a bit, and spill their guts. Common admissions range from the serious (“I cheated on my girlfriend” or “I did meth today for the first time in month”) to the scatological (“I was the guy who stunk up the bathroom at work today”).

Recently, these sites have given birth to a new, and odd, phenomenon: the iConfessional. Think of it as Deus ex blog . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

“The church must be true, or the missionaries would have ruined it by now.”

Posted by Kerry on March 11, 2008

Have you ever heard that statement? It’s kind of funny, and in some cases, probably true. I have to admit I did some pretty stupid stuff as a missionary. Good thing we didn’t have Facebook or MySpace back then. 🙂

LDS Church issues apology in missionary vandalism case

LDS Church apologizes for ‘senseless’ vandalism of Catholic church, shrine

“Olsen said the LDS Church has initiated a “thorough investigation” of the incident and has arranged for a meeting with Catholic leaders to offer apologies.

‘We are providing the names of those involved to law enforcement officials and will continue to cooperate fully with those investigating the incident as well as with officials of the Roman Catholic Church. Those missionaries who have since returned home will face disciplinary action from the church,’ the statement read. ‘The missionary who was still serving in Colorado has also been disciplined and his mission terminated.’ “

Posted in Church News, Inter-Faith Relations, Missonaries | Tagged: , , , , , | 20 Comments »

A Night At The Ward Auction (aka Bargain Shopping For A Firedancer)

Posted by Shawn L on March 9, 2008

auction.jpg

One of things I loved about Church as a kid was going to ward fundraisers.  My motives, of course, were far from altruistic.  We had a guy in our ward who owned a 7-Eleven franchise, so he always brought boxes of candy and Slurpee coupons for auction.  After 2 hours of relentless nagging from their pack of wild kids, my folks inevitably would give in and we would go home with weeks worth of Butterfingers, along with all sorts of other trinkets we didn’t really need.  These events were always great fun and served to rally us together around a specific goal, be it the youth program, a new chapel or the construction of a local temple. 

It’s been nearly two decades now since I attended such an event.  Indeed, it was my understanding that the Church prohibited ward-sponsored fundraisers when it lifted the rule requiring congregations to raise their own budgets.   Apparently, I was wrong because, last night, our ward held its first annual Ward Auction to raise money for this year’s iterations of Scout Camp and Girls’ Camp.  I am happy to report it was rousing success.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Rewriting My “Testimony Rules”

Posted by Shawn L on March 5, 2008

8xk6fcaam2pimca554hxucakdxhz8ca23j6w9caltg2iecau5romwcavwch3lca8j7nptcaxavxhecau2aobmcazcx15jca2apsqvca0mhih0cakhp6ytcabjlfslcayzeiu2caqyqiqgcac0uqr3cam2ae1l.jpg

If you have spent any time at all as a member of the Church, you undoubtedly have a few horror stories of fast and testimony meetings gone awry.  From false doctrine to racially-insensitive remarks to right-wing political “calls to arms” to just plain weirdness, I’ve have heard my fair share of, ahem, “colorful” testimonies.  [My favorite is the departing missionary who ended his testimony by saying, “In the words of the Lord, ‘it is finished,'” and then promptly sat down.]   As a result, many jaded members — and virtually every full-time missionary — can be heard, at one time or another, to say that they look upon this monthly ritual with dread, a feeling that is only exacerbated by the presence of persons unfamiliar with the practice, such as investigators.  Who knows what crazy old Sister Jones will say this month?  What if Brother Jones spends another 30 minutes bemoaning his long-haired son-in-law and the evils of cable television?

I’ll admit, I’m no different.  Over the years,  as a direct response to these instances, I developed my own set of criteria for how I thought a testimony — an honest to goodness Testimony — should sound.  Each week, of course, members broke every single one of my little rules, which drove me crazy.  Didn’t they get it?  Bearing testimony is a serious business, for goodness sake.  But through a couple of recent experiences, I have come to rethink — and now take the opportunity to rewrite — my “testimony rules.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Book of Mormon, Faith, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

In Relief Society, “No means No!”

Posted by Kerry on February 29, 2008

Like many other Burning Bosom Bloggers, my wife and I have both recently served in ward leadership positions. It was Elder’s Quorum Prez (EQP) for me and RS Prez (RSP) for my wife (still serving). I have to admit that we have both been absolutely flabbergasted, completely bewildered, and utterly SHOCKED at the behavior of some of our fellow active members of the church, regarding the acceptance of service from others.

It seems that when a person is first called to a ward leadership position, said person tries to fulfill every single service request at whatever cost, believing that “magnifying your calling” requires that. One common example would be spending an exorbitant (i.e a dozen hours) amount of time helping an unprepared family to move. Over time, however, even the sweetest of hearts becomes somewhat “hardened” and begins to understand that it is okay to say “no” to some inappropriate service requests.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith, Humor, Marriage & Family, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , , , , | 34 Comments »

On Bearded Bishops & Avoiding The “Appearance Of Evil”

Posted by Shawn L on February 26, 2008

images.jpg

The shaving habits of post-McKay Mormon males is well trod ground, so forgive me if this horse has been sufficiently kicked. But it struck me recently that in my 35 years as an active member of the Church, I have never, ever attended a Ward (in the US) where any of the Bishopric wore facial hair. An important note: I lived in Utah only while attending BYU. Mine may be a unique experience, but I suspect not.

The only coherent argument I’ve ever heard justifying the dearth of beards in our ranks is the old saw about “avoiding the appearance of evil.” The argument goes as follows: of course there’s nothing wrong with beards per se, but people might see your bearded face and assume that you are someone you are not. As a bearded dude, I have heard this line of thinking dozens of times over the years. And after all these years, I’m still not buying it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , | 74 Comments »

Celestial Navigation: Why Our Imperfect Guidance System is Perfect for God’s Purposes

Posted by Andrew on February 11, 2008

Imagine being an ancient mariner on an empty sea in the black of night with nothing more to guide you than a few distant lights in the heavens. Celestial navigation is an ancient skill that enables its practitioner to use the stars to determine where he is, where he wants to be, and which direction he needs to go. As a guidance system, it was woefully imperfect and had a high rate of error. Sometimes the heavens were obscured by clouds, and even when the skies were clear, the constellations were continually drifting. A sailor could easily misread the stars and end up hundreds of miles from his intended destination. Nowadays, modern mariners have GPS devices that make all the necessary calculations for them with virtually flawless precision at the push of a button. They always arrive at their intended destinations, but I wonder what would happen if one day the satellites and computers stopped telling them what to do and where to go. Would modern mariners have adequately learned in their previous voyages to guide themselves by the light of the stars?

I’ve been wrestling with the question of why God allows so much ambiguity and uncertainty to exist about him and his ways, and why he’s left us with such an imperfect guidance system to discover the answers to life’s most important questions. There are so many things that God could just come out and clearly say, so many questions he could easily answer, but he chooses not to. And I’m coming to the conclusion that the reason why has a lot to do with the above comparison of ancient and modern mariners. It has a lot to do with clouds, stars, moons, suns, and which of those heavenly bodies God wants us to become. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Is There a Deeper Reason Why Mormons Don’t Use a Cross?

Posted by Kerry on February 7, 2008

Most modern Christian churches use the cross as the symbol of their worship. More specifically, it represents and memorializes Christ’s death for them. They place the cross on the walls of their churches, hang it around their neck, even tattoo it on their arms. To most Christians, it serves as a reminder that Christ suffered and died for them. But still, I have to admit that in today’s world, seeing a cross around a person’s neck is a gratifying sight to me, because I know that in that person’s mind the cross is one way to demonstrate their love and devotion for the Savior.

Now, for some reason I grew up thinking that the cross was bad…that people who wore it were mocking Christ…that it was a ghastly symbol that should be shunned…that we as Mormons didn’t use the cross because it represented and reminded us of His horrific death. And focusing on His suffering and death on the cross was bad. It was like I was taught to avoid all of those appalling Catholic illustrations and statues of the Savior with a crown of thorns on his head and blood running down his cheeks, to get those images out of my mind because the cross is a reminder of his suffering and death, which is something we shouldn’t focus on.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bible, Book of Mormon, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 20 Comments »

Selection 2008: Is One of These Latin Americans the Next Apostle?

Posted by Andrew on February 5, 2008

med_costa_crm1.jpg

med_gonzalez_wf1.jpg

[Pictured above: Elders Claudio R.M. Costa of Brazil and Walter F. González of Uruguay, now serving in the Presidency of the Seventy.]

With Elder Uchtdorf’s calling into the First Presidency yesterday, a vacancy has been created in the Quorum of the Twelve. Will this opportunity bring us the first Latin American Apostle?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Church News, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »