Highlights from General Conference, April 2010

This was kind of a rough General Conference for me — because of the little one — but it was still inspiring as always. Dominant themes included the Resurrection of Christ, teaching children the gospel, and having hope and faith in the midst of turmoil and adversity.

Because this post is late and synthesis requires more effort than chronology, I’m just going to list the Top 10 “moments” that stood out to me (in chronological order), and include some of my own thoughts:

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Highlights from General Conference, April 2009

We had another great General Conference! Some of the dominant themes were faith and endurance amidst trials, temple worship, and unselfish service. Here are some highlights, with some of my own thoughts (and at least one soap box.)

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Meditations on Time, Part 2: Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future

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.

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Abraham 2:16: “Eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation”

In the spirit of my wanting more posts that comment on specific scriptural passages, I am providing this commentary on Abraham 2:16. I wrote the following as a brief paper for a Pearl of Great Price course that I took as an undergraduate at BYU:

After He rescued Abraham from the murderous priest of Elkenah, Jehovah led Abraham and his family to the land of Haran (Abr. 2:3-4). While there, they avoided the sore famine of their native Ur, prospered economically, and “won” many souls unto the Lord (vv. 5, 15). Haran was not Abraham’s final destination, however; while there, Jehovah promised to send him to “a strange land,” the land of Canaan, where he and his future posterity, if obedient to God, would dwell forever (v. 6). Abraham’s journey from Haran to Canaan must have had special significance, considering the way Abraham writes about it: “Therefore, eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation, as we journeyed from Haran by the way of Jershon, to come to the land of Canaan” (v. 16).

Why did Abraham speak of his journey in this way? Continue reading

Mayan Weaving, American Relations with China, and Remembering Suffering through Narratives


This post comes from a presentation I gave this semester in response to a lecture on Mayan weaving given by Allen Christensen, a talented Maya scholar at BYU.

I am also writing this in response to the discussion on relationships with China that Doug raised several days ago.

There is an interesting correlation between how Mayans and Christian Americans connect themselves with their religious narratives and how they produce clothing. This is one small way of exploring how Americans have become insensitive to human suffering in relationships with China and other poor countries. Continue reading

Do Tattoos and Piercings Remain in the Resurrection? A Case Study in a Pragmatic Approach to an LDS Theology of Possibilities

As I have mentioned before, I am giving a presentation tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, March 27) at the University of Utah, for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology conference. My presentation is entitled “Toward a Latter-day Saint Theology of Possibilities.”

The basic logic of the underlying problem I tackle in my presentation is that (a) there is a tenuous relationship between authority and freedom in the Church, (b) there is not a clear cut authoritative theology that is sufficient to guide Latter-day Saints in all matters of life, (c) Latter-day Saints cannot help but construct folk beliefs, (d) folk beliefs are not bad in themselves; the problem occurs when these beliefs are seen as closed folk beliefs (CFBs), rather than open folk beliefs (OFBs). Continue reading