Posted on December 27, 2008 by Dennis
This is the second of a series of short posts entitled “Meditations on Time.” In this series I will explore some of my thoughts and experiences concerning time and the gospel.
In my previous post, I talked about my childhood fear of living forever. As a young boy, I thought that living forever would be boring and even frightening. I concluded that I would simply live in the present and not worry too much about it.
What I’m aiming to do in this series is to discuss why this childhood view — simply live in the present — is problematic.
I know it’s a couple days after Christmas, but I would like to briefly talk about Ebenezer Scrooge’s resolution at the end of A Christmas Carol. After being shown his tombstone by the Ghost of Christmas Future, Scrooge pleas:
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
Filed under: Literature, Relationships, Religious Experience | Tagged: A Christmas Carol, alienation, Atonement, Charles Dickens, Christmas, consumerism, Cratchitt, death, Ebenezer Scrooge, eternal life, existentialism, Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Future, Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, Gospel of Jesus Christ, Irvin Yalom, Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saints, LDS, materialism, Mormons, oncology, time, Tiny Tim | 3 Comments »
Posted on October 9, 2008 by Dennis
The Church has released a few details about the newly announced temples in Philadelphia, Kansas City, Rome, Calgary, and Córdoba Argentina.
Here is what I know:
Filed under: Architecture, Mormon Culture | Tagged: Alberta, Alexander Doniphan, Broad Street Philadelphia, Caldwell County Missouri, Calgary, Córdoba Argentina, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, City Hall Philadelphia, Clay County Missouri, Far West, Haun's Mill, Italy, Jack Mormons, Kansas City, Liberty Jail, Manhattan Temple, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Rome, Shoal Creek Missouri, temples, Tuscany/Royal Oak C-Train station, Villa Belgrano | 6 Comments »
Posted on August 13, 2008 by Jeff Thayne
Today, I would like to consider two different genres of fiction: fantasy and science fiction. The way in which I talk about them will probably be different than the way a literary expert would talk about them; I make no claims to any serious research in this post, but rather I would just like to share some personal thoughts I have had when comparing the two genres.
Today, we live in a world where it is assumed that everything that happens has a “scientific explanation.” This means more than that everything is explanable; it means that everything is understandable and accountable in terms of matter governed by mathematical laws. If anything out of the ordinary happens, we simply assume that it can be explained scientifically, even if we don’t exactly know how yet. This modern perspective is often called scientific naturalism. This perspective is intricately connected with determinism, which is the assumption that all events are predictable, if you know all of the antecedent circumstances. In other words, whatever happens, happens inevitably. (more…)
Filed under: Literature, Philosophy, Science | Tagged: agency, Aristotle, biology, determinism, fantasy, fiction, free will, God, LDS, magic, Mormons, psychology, reductionism, science fiction, scientific naturalism, spirits, teleology | 20 Comments »
Posted on July 19, 2008 by Trevor
I’ve been really enjoying the McCain-Obama discussions over the past several weeks. They’ve become increasingly relevant for me as I feel my political views are so rapidly changing due to my Eastern European adventures. There seems to be more and more political questioning and discussion. Though there seems to be polarization on some fronts, on the whole I’ve noticed a greater desire for understanding in web discussions.
My time here in Poland has facilitated me moving more to the right politically and economically than ever before. Yet a few films have been on my mind lately that point, in some ways, to the left. I wanted to share a short list. (more…)
Filed under: Film, Politics | Tagged: 9/11, Al Gore, Alex Gibney, An Inconvenient Truth, An Unreasonable Man, Andrew Jarecki, Bowling for Columbine, Eisenhower, Enron, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Errol Morris, Fahrenheit 9/11, Fight Club, Fog of War, Fortune Magazine, Frank Capra, global warming, Hearts and Minds, Iraq war, Michael Moore, Ralph Nader, Robert McNamara, Vietnam War, war, Why We Fight | 4 Comments »
Posted on July 9, 2008 by Dennis
I hope everyone has had a chance to read Deirdre Paulsen’s excellent (short) article in this month’s Ensign, “Faith in His Step and a Song in His Heart.” Sister Paulsen tells the story of Paulo Tvuarde, a Brazilian Latter-day Saint who, out of necessity, walked 25 miles (40 km) to church each week (usually missing once a month) for at least 14 years. This required him to begin walking at 3 a.m. The story was an inspiring one for me, when I thought of Paulo and the sacrifices that he made to worship and be with his fellow saints each week.
Reading Paulo’s story also reminded me, of course, how small a matter it is that my (pregnant) wife and I have started to leave 10 minutes earlier in order to walk about a half mile to church each week. We are happy to see several other walking couples in our ward, including several with infants and toddlers. But we walkers are a very small minority in my ward and stake. (We are in a BYU married stake with nine wards that meet in the same building; our apartment is probably the average distance from the meetinghouse.) (more…)
Filed under: Mormon Culture, Poetry, Relationships | Tagged: addiction, automobiles, community, Deirdre Paulsen, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, exercise, gas prices, globalization, LDS, leisure, Mormon Culture, Mormons, nature, oil, oil addiction, Out of Your Car Off Your Horse, Paulo Tvuarde, The Problem of Tobacco, tobacco, walking, walking to church, Wendell Berry | 11 Comments »
Posted on June 14, 2008 by Dennis
Everyone is worried about the economy, including the inflation of the U.S. dollar.
But I wish to express my concerns about a different kind of inflation: ovation inflation.
Years ago I came to the term “ovation inflation” independently, but after I googled the term about a month ago, I realized, once again, that I am not as unique as I thought. “Ovation inflation” has been discussed in blogs, online magazines, and even the Wall Street Journal. In her WSJ article, Joanne Kaufman called ovation inflation “one more example of our society’s tendency to supersize every experience, emotion and commodity.” (more…)
Filed under: Mormon Culture, Music, Theatre | Tagged: BYU, BYU Mens' Chorus, fine arts, H.M.S. Pinafore, Hale Center Theatre, Hillary Hahn, LDS Church, Mormon Culture, Mormons, ovation inflation, standing ovations, Temple Square, Theatre, Utah Symphony | 18 Comments »
Posted on June 2, 2008 by Trevor
Dennis suggested that I post a few recommendations for films that readers of the blog might find fruitful. I hope that others here will find this helpful or at least of interest. I often post different lists (my own favorites as well as those of critics I admire and loathe) on my blog Toward an LDS Cinema. (more…)
Filed under: Film | Tagged: A Man Escaped, Agnes Varda, Beauty and the Beast, Cache, canon, Christianity, Dardennes Brothers, French New Wave, Jacques Demy, Jean Cocteau, Jean-Luc Godard, John Malkovich, Micheal Haneke, Nicolas Philibert, Notre Musique, Places in the Heart, Raul Ruiz, Robert Benton, Robert Bresson, Rosetta, Terry Gilliam, The Children of Paradise, The Gleaners and I, The Son, Time Regained, To Be And To Have, Towards an LDS Cinema | 5 Comments »
Posted on May 29, 2008 by Joe O.
I’d like to quote a post from my education blog. The full post can be found here.
I was in the HFAC (at BYU) the other day admiring an exhibit on drawing. At one point, I came across one of those labels that tells you about the art work. It was describing how a knowledge of anatomy contributes to drawing the human figure, stating something to this effect: knowing what is under skin helps you to understand what you see on the skin. In other words, having a knowledge of what is underneath the surface of what you are trying to draw enables you to express that knowledge when you draw what is on the surface. Good artists, then, draw more than what’s on the surface (i.e., what they see). But how deep does “more” go? (more…)
Filed under: Visual Arts | Tagged: art, BYU, drawing, light and truth, Mormon Culture, Mormons, nude art, pornography, sexuality, speculation | 19 Comments »
Posted on May 27, 2008 by Dennis
This post is adapted from a presentation I gave for the Psychology of Gender course I taught last year at BYU. Though it might not be clear at first, I conclude with some uniquely LDS themes.
Billy Joel is the master lyricist of the love song.
His love songs reflect a wide spectrum of feelings and attitudes about romantic relationships. We’re all familiar with “The Longest Time,” the prototypical song from the I’m-so-excited-to-be-back-in-love-again-and-I-don’t-care-what-happens genre. For his second wife, supermodel Christie Brinkley, there’s the upbeat 80s icon, “Uptown Girl.” And, of course, there are the touching tributes, “She’s Got a Way” and “Just the Way You Are,” that have been sung by men on many occasions to swoon their wives and girlfriends. (more…)
Filed under: Music | Tagged: Adam and Eve, And So It Goes, Baby Grand, Beneficent Fall, benevolent sexism, Billy Joel, Christie Brinkley, David Archuleta, eternal marriage, Eve, Family, feminism, Garden of Eden, Gender, gods in embryo, Honesty, hostile sexism, Just the Way You Are, men and women, modern sexism, Mormon Culture, mysogny, Ray Charles, relationships, River of Dreams, romance, sex, sexism, She's Always a Woman, She's Got a Way, stereotypes, The Fall, The Longest Time, Uptown Girl, women | 7 Comments »
Posted on May 15, 2008 by Dennis
For Latter-day Saints, the letter R can be one of your best friends.
It simplifies your decisions at the video store as well as the ballot box:
- A movie with an R printed on it is bad. Even if you don’t know anything else about the movie, don’t watch it. A movie with any other rating — even if you don’t know anything about it — is good, as far as the appropriateness of its content.
- A political candidate with an R printed by their name is good. Even if you don’t know anything else about the candidate, vote for him/her. A candidate with any other letter — even if you don’t know anything about her or him — is bad.
Piece of cake. (more…)
Filed under: Film, Mormon Culture, Politics | Tagged: abortion, Brooke White, Democrats, Doug Robinson, elections, Ezra Taft Benson, Film, Mormon Culture, Mormons, Orson Scott Card, political parties, politicians, Politics, R-rated movies, Republicans, same-sex marriage, Utah legislature, Utah politics | 30 Comments »
Posted on May 13, 2008 by Joe O.
A more appropriate title to this blog post would be “Why I hate that the public schools teach ‘creation’ by evolution and do not teach the Biblical account of creation,” but aside from being too wordy, I thought the inappropriate title might persuade more people to read this entry. After all, the second title might lead one to think that I’m in favor of creationism and who wants to hear another argument for creationism? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that I frankly don’t care for creationism (and for that matter, I don’t care much for intelligent design…or Ben Stein). But in spite of my apathy toward creationism, I am still greatly miffed by this country’s ridiculous replacement of one creation story (evolution) with another (the Biblical account). (more…)
Filed under: Literature, Philosophy, Science | Tagged: Aldous Huxley, Arts, Ben Stein, Bible, creation, creationism, evolution, Expelled, intelligent design, literature, myth, narrative theology, public education, Science, scriptures | 98 Comments »
Posted on March 26, 2008 by Dennis
One feature I would like to add to this blog is to periodically report on blogs that I think would be of interest to our readers.
The first blog I would like to highlight is Towards an LDS Cinema, which I stumbled upon a few weeks ago. I discovered, in my stumbling, that it is authored by an old friend of mine, Trevor Banks, who is a Fulbright Scholar studying (film?) in Poland. (more…)
Filed under: Film, LDS blogs | Tagged: Arts, Film, humanities, LDS blogs, Mormon Culture, Mormons | 3 Comments »
Posted on February 27, 2008 by Dan
- I trust I have not wasted breath:
- I think we are not wholly brain,
- Magnetic mockeries; not in vain,
- Like Paul with beasts, I fought with Death;
- Not only cunning casts in clay:
- Let Science prove we are, and then
- What matters Science unto men,
- At least to me? I would not stay.
- Let him, the wiser man who springs
- Hereafter, up from childhood shape
- His action like the greater ape,
- But I was born to other things.
Filed under: Poetry | Tagged: Poetry, Tennyson | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 21, 2008 by Dennis
They, looking back, all th’eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Wav’d over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces throng’d and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropp’d, but wip’d them soon.
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
They, hand in hand, with wand’ring steps and slow
Through Eden took their solitary way.
-John Milton, Paradise Lost (Book XII, 641-649)
Filed under: Poetry | Tagged: Adam, Eve, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Poetry, The Fall | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 18, 2008 by Dennis
In one of my favorite poems, “A Prayer for Old Age,” W.B. Yeats writes:
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone.
Here Yeats makes the provocative claim that thinking is not restricted to the mind, and that the wise person is the one who is able to “think” deep in the interior of one’s bones. (more…)
Filed under: About blog, Philosophy, Poetry | Tagged: Descartes, Divine embodiment, Heidegger, Joseph Smith, Law, Mind-body dualism, Modernism, Philosophy, W.B. Yeats | 6 Comments »