Sunday in Outer Blogness:

This week Elder Holland has launched another attack on secularism (which drew some criticism). On the other hand, a speaker at the FairMormon Conference advised Mormons to “make secularism an ally rather than a bogeyman.” With the rise of Trump some faithful Mormons are finally getting the picture that their marriage to the religious right (political movement) is kind of ill-advised:

If any of the speculation about Trump’s long-run interests in competing with Fox turn out to be true, then—even if he loses the election—it could very well mean that we’ll see a rising media conglomerate drawing a bulls-eye on Mormonism from the right of the American political spectrum.

There have been some fantastic church-related discussions lately, such as
an insightful new perspective on counting your blessings, a history of BYU-Hawaii and The Proclamation, details of a bishop asking sexual questions to an 8-year-old as a part of the baptism process, more stories of missionaries coming home early, modesty creep, a great new use for General Conference, addressing homophobia through BYU football, and the shady dealings of Paul H. Dunnand others:

I write this post with not a little irritation that the Mormonism that currently presents is encumbered by an unfathomable immaturity in its organisational culture that draws a hard line in the sand, rejecting anything and anyone who might disrupt the ‘good’ members’ intractable confidence that the church is perfect and without accountability for any misdeed that occurs within its dominion. It has few checks in its systems that arrests its constant reproduction of the spiritually juvenile, organisationally infantile and obdurate cultural rule that all Mormons must protect the Church’s good name whether deserved or not. This is a dangerous nonsense and leads me to ask:

“What is a good name?” A good name is earned; it’s not coerced and bullied out of its adherents.

I think my favorite recent discussion, though, was this list of recommended changes to the CoJCoL-dS. I’ve seen lists of what the church can do to improve that are basically like “denounce Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and replace them with (Evangelical) Christian theology,” but this one is different — it’s a comprehensive list of simple policy changes that would make a huge improvement without compromising Mormonism’s unique character. The pervasive sexism is something that does harm and could be addressed (think Mormon Women’s Position and Organization Names and Titles) as well as transparency issues and other problems.

The new semester is starting, so it’s time to deconstruct this year’s scripture lessons! Plus check in with Jesus in the Book of Mormon (not to mention Corianton and Lucretia).

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Sunstone Fiction Contest!

In life journeys, Ben described coming out as a gay Mormon, and Natasha Helfer Parker explained why she stays Mormon:

And I get the question a lot. From my own. “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave?” And from those outside, like this thread. “If it’s so harmful, why are you still in?” They are both valid questions. But I still have the belief that I have a right to Mormonism on my own terms. That I have the right to my beliefs and the many ways LDS doctrine is relevant in my life, to the many spiritual experiences I’ve had within this faith, and to the community I have served and been served by since my parents converted when I was five years old — even as I have the right to call out the harm I see and the ways I hope we can improve and change. It’s a journey after all. I have a right to stay or go… and I choose to stay.

In not-Mo-related, we have a poem about identity, using cannons as musical instruments and churches as armed camps, and other metamorphoses. Plus another one of my puppet shows.

Thanks to all for your patience with my irregular vacation posting schedule. Since it’s already mid-week, I think I’ll probably skip next Sunday and do another week-and-a-half SiOB the following week. I hope to see you then!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Vacation edition!

Yes, it’s vacation season here in Europe! All the fascinating news and stories keep pouring in from Mormon-land, but sadly I have not had time to gather them up for you.

I put off putting up this post because I kept thinking “I will have some point have a block of time when I can do SiOB…” And it kept not happening. It’s surprising how time-consuming vacation can be, especially considering how little travel we’re doing this year. I don’t think I’ll have time to do a catch up post until probably the middle of next week. :(

In the meantime, please give a warm welcome to the newest members of Outer Blogness: Gen-X Gillian and iGenIvy!

You bet, “born in the covenant” is a big deal, hence the bulk of church membership. But when one leaves all behind, to walk free into the beautiful world, what about those venerated ancestors? After growing up cousin to the current prophet, g-g-granddaughter of The Greatest Missionary, sure, there’s DNA baggage walking away with me.

(Little did I know g-g-grandaddy’s contribution was challenged as belonging to JS, since g-g-grandma spent the years her husband served missions as a single-parent, thus vulnerable to “The Prophet’s” wily charms. DNA testing resolved that claim in the late-90s.)

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Losing my religion edition!

This has been a great week for journeys!! Richard of Zelph wrote us a beautifully, painfully raw and honest essay on how — as exmos — we don’t need to force a happy face, and we’re not required to just move on:

Living in Utah, maintaining LDS relationships, and even participating in the post-Mormon community often makes me feel like I’m living in a graveyard where my old life is interred. As a writer for Zelph, I try to comfort those who have likewise come to lay an old life to rest. But in doing so, I find myself in a state of perpetual mourning.

I have occasionally written about feeling reborn after leaving the church. The part I don’t always mention is that being reborn after your brain is already fully developed can be really really difficult.

Luman Walters drew a parallel with strained relationships around the loss of a beloved pet:

Over the next couple years we would often bring up buno. “remember how we used to do such-and-such with buno”….”Remember when buno…..”. Talking about buno would upset mom. I can think of two instances where she specifically asked that we never talk about him in front of her. I think she may have felt guilty.

And Boyd Petersen learned from his own faith crisis experience some ideas for helping others:

The words “I know the Church is true” became problematical one by one. The first word to cause me trouble was the word “church.” […] Which Church was true? The Church of the past or the present? And which parts of it? The organization itself? Priesthood authority? And which doctrines or practices would I allow into my increasingly complicated definition?

The next word to become problematic for me was the word “I.”

There are some exciting projects out there in the Mo-interest Internet! Tom Doggett is working on a really cool project digitizing the lost Mormon cinema for the Hard-to-Find Mormon Videos YouTube channel! These videos are an amazing way to reconnect with your memories of Mormon culture from your youth and childhood! Thinker of Thoughts is continuing his series on the Nauvoo Expositor with an analysis of the claim that the press was destroyed due to fear of mob violence. Plus, some highlights from the Sunstone Symposium!

In other discussions, Wheatmeister asked which revelations should be canonized. Janan Graham emphasized the importance of diverse stories. Tracy McKay-Lamb followed up on Carol Lynn Pearson’s take on polygamy and the temple. And Sam Brunson of BCC argued against “the proposition that a church having and managing money is de facto immoral and wrong” and the first comment on the post did a good job of explaining that that’s not exactly the problem with the CoJCoL-dS and money:

I certainly give quite a bit of praise to humanitarian efforts (monies and manpower) that the church gives. I even read that the church had given “approximately $1.2 billion on welfare and humanitarian efforts over the past 30 years” (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865657898/LDS-Church-welfare-humanitarian-efforts-average-40-million-per-year-apostle-says.html?pg=all). A big round of applause for this.

Then I look at the ~$2Billion spent on City Creek and even something closer to me where the church just purchased a est $45 Million apartment complex. I can’t say I feel comfortable with that.

I certainly can mark a bit of this as some institutional insecurities due to financial issues in the past, but this is an area that bothers me when I think of it, or when I fill out my tithing slip.

I certainly would like some more openness and desire for feedback from above. I work for a very large tech company and I feel that I have more opportunities from my management for giving feedback than even in my own ward.

And in personal stories, Alexis recounted her encounter with Pat Summit.

Such a pleasure to review all of the past week’s ideas and discussions! Now back to chasing Pokémon!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Switzerland Day edition!!

Yes, today is the Swiss National Holiday! It’s one of the most important holidays we celebrate here in Zürich, along with Knabenschiessen (“boys shooting”) and Sechseläuten (the day we set a giant fake snowman on fire) (yes those are real holidays). Today is the day we honor the defensive pact made among the first three cantons of Switzerland back in 1291. Of course nobody knows what precise date the pact was made on, so people just picked a convenient date to celebrate (kind of like Christmas!).

Anyway, since I’d set myself a goal to finish drawing pages 15 and 16 of my comic book by the end of last week — and I was really on a roll with my drawing yesterday (with only a few breaks to chase Pokémon with my son) — I decided to put off SiOB for today, it being a holiday and all. Actually page 16 is still not quite done but so close! But I figured I’d better get down to business on SiOB or it would never get done. So here’s your Mormon news for this week!!

This week’s top Mormon news story is about the good guys being bad. Utah Planned Parenthood decided to print up some condoms with the famous “CTR” shield for distribution at the Sunstone Symposium, and their Facebook post about is kinda went viral. I’ve read some excuses (essentially that people use that symbol unofficially all the time and people aren’t going to mistake them for being actually promoted by the CoJCoL-dS), but I don’t think very highly of these excuses. It was an inappropriate use of someone else’s copyrighted logo. Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be handing over the moral high ground. I support their decision not to distribute the condoms, and I hope they’ll simply apologize for the oversight (if they haven’t already).

In the department of the CoJCoL-dS shooting itself in the foot, we have this:

It turns out that the entire 2016 year of Visiting Teaching messages were not drafted or chosen by the Relief Society Presidency but were picked for them and written by the all male correlation committee. As you might suspect, the messages often are mostly men lecturing women on things such as to how to suffer joyfully.

And this decision has led to pretty much the dumbest mistake groupthink can make — they decided to use the Visiting Teaching message to have women tell each other the most odious, enraging-to-women story in recent General Conference memory. My guess is that either some mole in the Church Office Building is actively out to inspire women to leave the church or the dudes in the COB are just morons. You guessed it — it’s the ironing story. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, allow me to thank the COB for reminding us all of what the CoJCoL-dS really thinks of women. Please see this earlier discussion thread about it.

In other Mormon discussions LDS missionaries have been relocated from Turkey to Berlin, ExmoTales explained Mormon Trek, and houdin1 provided a top-notch set of tips for non-believers who are currently enrolled at BYU.

One of the positive points of this year’s US election horror show has been the fact that Utah — usually the reddest of the red states — is a battleground state this time around because Mormons generally don’t like Trump. Which I think is kind of awesome. Jeff Swift discussed some possible reasons why. My personal guess is that the Mormons find him vulgar, particularly his use of hottest-but-not-modest women.

There are a lot of great podcasts to choose from this week including new research on arousal discussed by Mormon sex therapist Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, an interview with science communicator Cara Santa Maria, Sage Turk’s new series on how to be an atheist without being an asshole (here’s an idea), and a discussion of Stephen Carter’s book on Mormon humor.

Speaking of books, you may have noticed the review I posted about the new book of scholarly essays on the Book of Mormon musical. Also Sarah Dunster posted a review of Amber Gilchrist’s Mormon-interest novel The Librarian Shoots a Gun.

In scripture study, we’re up to the Jesus part of the Book of Mormon, and we just got treated to the scene of an unspeakably awesome prayer, minus the actual text of the prayer:

What’s the purpose of mentioning this at all if the magnificent specifics are going to be completely glossed over? I mean, if Jesus’s prayer was so powerful that his audience was filled with such prodigious joy, isn’t that exactly the kind of thing the scriptures should preserve for our benefit?

And also, if “tongue cannot speak, neither can there be written by any man…so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak,” I think it’s fair to ask what language did Jesus speak these things in and what words did he use. Because clearly the words exist, otherwise how could Jesus have spoken them?

And finally, there were a number of not-quite-Mormon-related personal stories related by Mormons (current or former): Jana finished a 60 Kilometer canoe trip, Alexis told a prequel story to her personal encounter with Pat Summitt, and Myrtlejoy told a rather squicky tale of something that happened at an exmo retreat, Oh, and a delicious dessert recipe from Froggie!

Sorry for the delay on this one, folks, happy reading and Happy Switzerland Day!!

Serious Fun: “Singing and Dancing to the Book of Mormon” edited by Holly Welker and Marc Edward Shaw

book_of_mormon_musical_book Since its opening, the Book of Mormon musical has been surrounded by controversy over its degree of vulgarity, its treatment of Mormons, and various other issues. It has also been tremendously popular in the US and abroad, notably sweeping the Tony Awards. It’s natural to ask whether it’s just fluff appealing to the lowest common denominator or whether there’s some substance there — and if there’s substance, let’s tease it out and have a look.

Welker and Shaw’s book Singing and Dancing to the Book of Mormon does just that. They’ve collected a remarkable set of original essays by various authors analyzing every facet of the play including its treatment of Mormon culture and beliefs, its treatment of Africans and women, its messages about faith in general, its use of bawdy humor, its illustration of Joseph Smith’s techniques and trajectory through the character of Elder Cunningham, and many other points.

Even for those of us who have been following the online discussion of this musical, there are plenty of fascinating new ideas in this collection. In the discussions I’ve read online, the consensus has generally been that the errors in the portrayal of Mormonism are small and superficial, especially compared with the deeper cultural themes the play got right. Some essays in this book expand upon that point, but I think the book really shines when the authors go beyond the obvious question of “Is it fair to Mormons?” and start to tackle its treatment of other groups. Here’s a taste:

As Max Perry Mueller writes in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, “Say what you will about the accuracy of the ‘Africans’ depicted in The Lion King musical, at least ‘Hakuna Matata’ actually means something in Swahili.” “Hasa Diga Eebowai” is akin to a modern Broadway musical, set (for example) in China, including a number entitled “Ching Chong Bing Bong”—-an unthinkable occurrence. Yet, because this is Africa, this cultural appropriation receives a pass from its predominantly white audience.

and:

More shocking and upsetting still was seeing Nabulungi reduced to an accessory—not someone who assists in accomplishing an action, like an accessory to a crime, but in the sense of being an object that completes an outfit. Nabulungi does something that’s a punch line in “You and Me (But Mostly Me)”: she literally stands next to [Elder Cunningham] and watches.

One of the running jokes in the musical is the white Mormon missionaries’ ignorance about Africa — yet ironically the musical itself is just as ignorantly Eurocentric, treating Africa and Africans as cardboard cut-outs whose real-life counterparts are irrelevant and uninteresting to the (white) audience. As much as I want to love this play for how well it nailed so many aspects of Mormon culture that I remember from my Mormon upbringing, I can’t overlook its blind spots and treat them as minor issues. I’m glad to see that this book gives those questionable points some serious scrutiny.

I’d like to thank the editors and authors of this book for their insights. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys textual analysis and has an interest in the musical.

[disclosure note: I am listed in the acknowledgements of this book for having provided some feedback on one of the essays.]

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Pioneer Day edition!

Yes, it’s time for Mormonism’s main holiday: Pioneer Day! Time to remember the Mormons’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley for better (here’s a travelogue of the company one of my ancestors travelled with) or for worse:

The frustration for LDS Native Americans must be the overwhelming privilege afforded to white stories and myths of religious heroics at this time of the year at the expense of their own truth. Yes, I know – its not just a Mormon thing, to remove Natives from their own geographies, to efface their histories and languages, and then render them ciphers in their homelands. But there is an appalling irony in holding a celebration for a settlement that did to the Shoshone, the Goshute, the Paiute and the Utes in part what the Mormons experienced in Missouri and Illinois; a forced removal, political, economic and cultural marginalization, violence and the appropriation of their property and resources. You would have thought that their hardships, so much a part of our religious narrative might have bred a consciousness and sympathy for the condition of others.

On a related note:

Mormons, in particular, should understand bigotry and denounce the voices of confusion that encourage it. Though certainly not on the same scale as slavery, historic oppression is hitched to us, raising dust as it drags behind. The religious persecution—the expulsion, the extermination—that our ancestors endured is part of our psyche even though we didn’t experience it, even though our neighbors didn’t inflict it on us.

[…]

My future grandbaby will not be able to hide. The dust of his or her racial history—slavery, disenfranchisement, immoral and unlawful persecution—will be in the eyes of all who can see. We can’t erase that any more than we can change the hue of someone’s skin. The world is not colorblind, nor should it be. My grandchild’s psyche will be infiltrated with an awareness that people who look like me once enslaved people who look like him or her.

In other Mormon culture notes, thinker of thoughts explained Mormon friendliness.

In women’s issues, it turns out the Mormon eternal reward for women isn’t very appealing. The rape-at-BYU problem: still not resolved! And check out these awesome patriarchy poems!!

In LGBTQ tales, apparently this lesbian divorced her wife in order to return to the CoJCoL-dS, and Tyler Glenn is pleading with Mormons to take real steps to stop the LGBTQ suicides.

In interfaith interactions, Facebook is again helping family members insult and alienate each other.

The US election is again/still in the news thanks to the RNC, so I dusted off my personal blog to describe what I learned back in 2000, and the Expert Textperts have compiled a list of tips on dealing with the Donald.

Well, I guess that wraps it up for this week! Time to get back to playing Pokemon Go. 😉 Happy Pioneer Day!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: More disaster edition!

With this latest attack in Nice, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to keep naming all of these some sort of disaster edition, since it appears that the mass murder and discriminatory policing are not going to be letting up any time soon.

Suicide has now risen to #1 cause of death for youth in Utah. It is past time to start valuing the lives of people who are marginalized. And even in situations that aren’t life-and-death, let’s recognize how the deck is stacked.

In church watch, the CoJCoL-dS’s chief lawyer says not all religious freedoms should be defended the same, notably listing as one of the core freedoms “protecting the nonprofit status and operation of religious organizations” — kinda surprising for a church corporation that owns so many for-profit businesses. Note that the CoJCoL-dS has an interesting history with the establishment clause.

Knotty reported on a tale of a peeping tom bishop, and don’t forget the Holy Ghost is sensitive.

In personal stories, it’s time to start coming out of the closet about abortion. And why not also some stories of polygamy? Also a father’s blessing from Steve Otteson and Monica’s thoughts on her third child’s birth.

In life journeys, Brian Whitney has some sort of faith journey that wasn’t a faith transition, and in history, it’s never a good time to be a heretic,

And to close on a light note, check out these lovely pictures of a new distillery in Salt Lake City!

So there you go — another week’s worth of LDS news and stories to take your mind of all your other stress. Have a great week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Disaster edition!

Wow have things taken a turn for the worse lately. So I guess the latest of it in the US is more cops killing unarmed black people and in Europe predictions of an economic collapse thanks to Brexit. And that’s just the stuff I see in the news — I would guess that many other nations and regions are reeling from similar or worse disasters. (At least there have been some positive steps.)

In response I have retreated to the comfort of visiting Narnia. No, really, (I know I mentioned this last week, but) this Ana Mardoll deconstruction of the Chronicles of Narnia is my new favorite thing. She also did Twilight, so now I think I have a pretty much unlimited supply of escapist pleasure-reading. Yeah, I know I could respond to disaster by getting out there and trying to do something useful. Well, I guess I’ll hold that thought until I’m done with this SiOB, and then maybe I’ll come up with something. We have two weeks’ of material to cover — come along!

The reality of the recent massacre in Orlando is making it harder for the CoJCoL-dS to justify its attitudes about homosexuality. Can Mormonism change for the better? There are too many suicides. Young people shouldn’t be trained to hate themselves:

It also reminded me of how much of my self-worth was attached to my ability to get married. I just wanted so much to be good and I just wanted to get married like I was supposed to. I wrote, “On Sunday I was really excited because a girl taught Sunday School that I usually don’t find pretty, but she looked super pretty that day. It gave me a lot of hope. I felt like things were improving. Then that night I went to my friend’s house and her roommate’s boyfriend was there. He’s really handsome and I was sickened with myself for thinking so. He was almost too good looking.” I remember that guy and he really was attractive. Finding a woman attractive = feeling good. Finding a man attractive = feeling sick. This was my reality and it was destroying me.

Then there’s BYU’s rape problem, which can be minimized a bit with a judicious use of the passive voice:

The quote I am interested in is, “Brigham Young University made national headlines this month when it was revealed [by someone] that female students who reported being raped {by assaulters} could be suspended or expelled [by another vague someone] for violating the school’s onerous honor code”.

[…]

The third instance of passive voice in this sentence makes it seem like expulsion just naturally happens, like gravity, while we all know boards and committees and people expel other people. Passive voice can let us tiptoe around identifying the party which harms another human being or the party that refuses to halt harm coming to others. In addition, the first instance of passive voice gives up an opportunity to champion those who finally did something about blatant contradictions in what BYU says it does and what BYU actually does. It glosses over the students who set their education on the line, the people who listened and who made crucial phone calls, and the professionals who have built (and used) influential networks with New York Times editors. (See what I did there? I used active voice).

If you went to BYU, you can get your honor code file! Jonathan Green argued in favor of BYU’s policy of kicking out people who leave the church (which I could almost get on board with if they’s facilitate transfers by not freezing people’s transcripts).

This week’s news story is that religious proselytizing is no longer allowed in Russia.

Then there’s getting in touch with your connections with polygamy.

L.T. Downing shared some choice tidbits from the CHI plus questions:

  • If Handbook 1 is doctrine (as some have zealously argued since November 5, 2015), why isn’t it publicly accessible?
  • If Handbook 1 is not doctrine, but is policy based on doctrine, why are members judged according to hidden policy, rather than clear doctrine?
  • How are members (especially women) to know the policies and rules by which we are expected to live and by which we will be judged, if the policies are only available to us secondhand or through hearsay?
  • How are members to determine if a bishop or Stake President steps out of line, or behaves out of compliance with policy, if members can’t have access to the policy?

In Mormon history, we have some historic LDS poems, and it looks like the “17 points of the true church” story (remember it?) probably didn’t happen.

In Mormon culture, Ziff provided some data on the phenomenon of strange Mormon names.

In women’s sexuality, we have the inherent contradiction in “modest is hottest“, shaming girls for vanity, body shaming, and a culture that erase female desire. In men’s sexuality, porn addiction is not a thing.

And, for when we’re not discussing Mormonism, there’s disc golf, stretching with new goals, baking cherry pie, and puberty!

So, sorry I missed last week’s episode — I hope you’ll find this one interesting!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Short break edition!

Hey folks! The sun finally came out here in Zürich (for the first time in about 7-8 weeks) so I spent the day gardening and biking with my kids (not to mention a bit of watching France beat Iceland in the Euro-Cup semi-finals). Yet, those things alone (plus my friend visiting to garden with me) would not have been enough to keep be from doing SiOB this week.

No, I had a much bigger distraction.

Adam Lee finally wrapped up his series deconstructing Atlas Shrugged — his weekly article on it has been my little Friday pleasure for years now. In the comments, in the course of discussing what he should do next, someone linked to another blogger’s deconstruction of the Chronicles of Narnia. Yep. And I’d like to thank that commenter for linking me to something that I could not stop reading, something which ate up every single free second of my weekend.

So, while maybe I could do SiOB now (it’s only 10 pm here in Switzerland), I’m really tired, and I can’t do SiOB tomorrow because I’ll be traveling. I will get back to SiOB as soon as I can.

Also note: a friend wrote to warn me that there’s a problem with the certificate on this site — anyone else experiencing that problem?

Sunday in Outer Blogness: iStone Edition!

Is the CoJCoL-dS getting better at avoiding embarrassing itself? The closest thing to controversial this past week was when Pres. Uchtdorf compared JS’s seer stone to a smartphone (while wearing a very expensive watch). Then there was the tragic news that a woman died from heat exposure from an LDS Trek activity.

There were some interesting discussions, though. The DNA evidence showing the Josephine Lyons probably wasn’t Joseph Smith’s daughter has opened some new controversy about Joseph Smith marrying women who were concurrently married to other men. Also, Angela C. wrote a beautiful meditation on the decline of the CoJCoL-dS and Hawkgrrrl discussed a related article on disaffection from religion. Charles Fry has reframed his view of the gospel in terms of happiness rather than sin. The Mormon History Guy interviewed an actor who plays Elija Abel and the Debrief Society talked sex with Natasha Helfer Parker. The director of FreeBYU did an AMA.

In personal-and-political, Knotty discussed the fact that too much of the Father’s Day praise for good dads is framed in terms of shaming other dads. Dad’s Primal Scream wrote about friends. Dear Abby wrote a poem about the harm of socializing girls to always please. And the Adult Onset Atheist discussed atheism and death.

Sunstone has released a helpful FAQ on attending its symposia. The Book of Mormon, sadly, has some pretty serious plot holes.

In Mormon news, FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs is on the lam. In non-Mo-news, that Brexit thing actually happened, giving Utah parents a great new name choice for their babies!

Unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef is dying, and LDS Earth Stewardship encourages Mormons to do something about climate change:

ack of provident living in the Western world and the resulting profligate consumption of resources—above all, fossil fuels—are at the foundation of climate change. Are we applying provident living principles in our daily lives as taught by our church leaders? How can we offer that doctrine to others without first giving heed ourselves? Why, for example, have we in large part ignored Doctrine and Covenants 89:12—13 counseling the eating of animal flesh in moderation? Beef production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Can we reconsider our excessive use of beef? We as a church have much to offer, but are we ready and able to make a genuine contribution?

In personal stories, Kevin Barney recounted getting into a physical fight with his missionary companion, and Dani Addante described her decision to keep her last name.

I guess that’s it for this week. I just hope the CoJCoL-dS gives us something interesting to talk about for next week! (Famous last words…)