Marriage, part 5: Defending marriage, defending charity

This is the final post in a five-part series on marriage, in case that wasn’t obvious in the title.

Thus far I have tried to make a case for difference in marriage, arguing that without confronting the fundamental differences symbolized by the sexual unity of male and female, we are less able to understand fully what it means to be charitable. In this final post, I will argue that defending marriage – and by association, charity – requires we defend difference.

Thus far, Latter-day Saints have put a lot of money and rhetoric into defending marriage, in particular against gay marriage. Perhaps the most notable example of this was the church’s recent campaign for Prop 8 in California. Though Prop 8 passed, we have seen since its passage that this “victory” for marriage cost more than just a lot of money. For the Latter-day Saint church in particular, the victory bordered on a public relations nightmare, with a lot of hate generated against the organization and its membership. Even worse, perhaps, was the division it caused within the membership.

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Marriage, part 3: Ritual of difference

This post is a continuation of a five-part series on Marriage. Access part one here; access part two here.

In the last post, I argued that teaching our children charity was facilitated by the love parents share in the face of differences. In being one body (one flesh), as Paul taught, we must embrace our differences – otherwise, where were the hearing?

In this post, I want to address a particular difference (or set of differences) which many married couples experience on a regular basis. I’m talking in particular about “knowing” one another in the biblical sense (e.g., “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived…“). I am not trying to be coy about using the word “sex.” For my purposes, I feel that knowing is the most appropriate word.

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Mormon Creation Narratives and Creation by Evolution

I once heard it said when I was a young undergraduate that the creation accounts – particularly that of Abraham – fit very well with evolutionary accounts of creation. A casual read of Abraham seems to confirm this: earth, void; waters divided from earth; plants come up from the earth; fish and fowl; beasts of the earth; man. This sort of progression would make sense from an evolutionary perspective – creation evolves from simple to complex.

But add Moses’ account into the mix and things become a little dicier. Continue reading

Quilting and Hope

If you grew up in an LDS family, it’s quite possible that you have at least one grandma, aunt, or immediate family member who made you a quilt and was perhaps even considered a quilting “fanatic” in your family. It can be very easy to take such handmade quilts for granted. Taking some time to ponder the meaning invested in such gifts, however, may help us to appreciate them more. Continue reading

Why More of Us Should Walk to Church

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.) Continue reading

Ovation Inflation: How Unique to Mormons?

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.” Continue reading

Nude Art and Mormonism

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? Continue reading