God and sports

November 27, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 7:36 am   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices,Sports

Apparently there are a lot of Utah Ute fans who are having a cow over a post-game comment by BYU receiver Austin Collie. Collie is the receiver who caught the long pass from Max Hall on 4th and 18 in the waning moments of the game on Saturday. That unlikely play eventually led to the Cougar victory. As far as I can tell here is what Collie said to a radio journalist in the euphoria after the game:

“I wouldn’t say it was lucky. We executed the play well. We should have had another one (TD). Obviously, if you do what’s right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it. Magic happens.”

The sports message boards and Utah radio airwaves have been abuzz with debate over this comment. Journalist Mike Sorenson said: “That implies a higher power favors one team over another and that his team is favored for being more righteous.” Is it just sour grapes or is there something wrong with what Collie said?

(I lean toward the former…)

How do you answer: Did Jared and his Brother discover America?

November 26, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 12:33 pm   Category: Life

So a friend at work found out I am LDS today. (Which is easy to do, since I have a book of mormon on my desk and tell everyone I am a member of the Church.)

Anyway, his reaction was really surprising to me. He said “So you believe Jared discovered America.” This really threw me off, as I had never really thought of it that way. I muttered something off about how people probably crossed the bering straight thousands of years ago, but that I did, as a believer, hold true the story in the scriptures.

so he said “so they came accross the ocean in submarines?”

I responded “um, not exactly” and briefly mentioned a us news and world report that came out five or so years ago about pre-columbus transoceanic voyages and the evidence for them. We then quickly switched topics to work.

It felt really awkward.

So why did terms like “discovered america” and “submarines” throw me off? (This is a friend we are talking about, not some anti-mormon attacker, just to make sure we are clear.) How do you deal with odd questions like these?

Science Without a Worldview

November 25, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 2:05 pm   Category: Uncategorized

Science offers a worldview. Sure, it is good for a lot of other things too (technologies for example), but I think the scientific worldview is one of the most important things science has to offer. It seems to me that the advances in physics over the last hundred years have left science in an awkward position, which both frustrates and fascinates me.

Ever since Isaac Newton, the prevailing scientific worldview has been one of mechanism, the idea that everything can be explained by physical causes. The universe is seen as a big pinball machine with things bumping into each other, each action causing an equal and opposite reaction, and so forth. (more…)

It’s a big honkin’ Saturday for BYU sports

November 24, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 6:34 am   Category: Sports

As if the big BYU-Utah football game were not enough, the still-undefeated men’s hoops team knocked off #6 Louisville last night in Las Vegas and will play #1 North Carolina tonight in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational. Days like today are a BYU sports fan’s dream come true. The only question this morning is whether it will be a good dream or not by the end of the day…

What if we didn’t die from old age?

November 19, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 7:08 pm   Category: Life

In 1949, several weeks before his 51st birthday, C.S. Lewis wrote a personal letter in which he reflected on the meaning and purpose of aging. He said:

Have you ever thought what it would be like if (all other things remaining as they are) old age and death had been made optional? All other things remaining: i.e. it would still be true that our real destiny was elsewhere, that we have no abiding city here and no true happiness, but the un-hitching from this life was left to be accomplished by our own will as an act of obedience and faith. I suppose the percentage of di-ers would be about the same as the percentage of Trappists is now. (more…)

An Interpretive Tradition Rather than Church “Doctrine”

November 18, 2007    By: Blake @ 1:01 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures,Theology

With respect to your questions regarding what constitutes Mormon Doctrine, your question is best answered by the Japanese “mu,” which means that the question is misinformed so it is better to withdraw the question. Like Judaism, and it appears earliest Christianity, there is neither “official Mormon Doctrine” nor council or creed that establishes such matters. Rather, there is a tradition of interpretation that is like the common law approach to deciding what constitutes the law. It is taken on a case-by-case basis guided by prior precedent of revelations, decisions and practices. So everything in the scriptures is “doctrine,” but of course that leaves open a lot of different approaches. It is well-settled that the doctrine of the Church is that Jesus is God’s Son and our Savior. What these basic affirmations mean is left open. It is basic that the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. What that means is left open to a range of interpretation. (more…)

Random Thoughts on the Church, Poop, and [bad manners].

November 13, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 10:37 am   Category: Life

This past Sunday, I gave a talk on service. (In which I embarrassed my wife, as usual.) Then I took our 7 month old to the bathroom to do the dirty work of changing her diaper. (before anyone gets impressed that I am such a good dad and husband, I’m not. I’m the guy who starts to gag and almost pukes when I smell poopy diapers. I do them when necessary, and take the wet ones strategically so as to be able to hand the baby off on poopy ones. In short, I’m a wimpy jerk) The diaper changing table is in the only stall in the men’s room at our church.

Ghana MTC Bathroom

November 10, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 8:37 pm   Category: Life

In every Bathroom Stall in the Ghana MTC, there is a sign, which reads:


The Angel Eve (Can someone go to the BYU library for me?)

November 9, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 8:40 pm   Category: Life

Recently, at Zelophad’s Daughters, Lynette expressed some concern that there were no examples of resurrected women visitng anyone, saying “What does it mean that we have all these exalted males, and not one example of an exalted female?”

In fact, I have a note here, on my list of 62 different angels or otherwise divine beings that visited Joseph Smith, one female: Eve.

Unfortuneately, I do not have the account of her visitation, merely a reference:

O.B. Huntington Diary, Pt. 2, . 244, BYU Library

Anyone want to stop by the Library for me and confirm this account exists and what it says?

A Mormon Essay Question

November 7, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 11:00 am   Category: Life

I received the following questions in an e-mail from a good friend, and thought I would solicit the greater masses for input.

A 1967 edition of a Deseret Sunday School Union lesson manual, Messages of Exaltation, explained the following:

Unfortunately, not all people accept and live the teachings contained in the scriptural witnesses given them by our Heavenly Father. The Lord does not give additional scriptures to those who reject these witnesses; in fact, He often takes away from them even those scriptures which they already have. The Lord outlines as follows the principle upon which He works in this matter.

Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28: 29 – 30.)

Several good examples of how this principle has operated in this dispensation might be listed. For example, when those Christians who believed in the Bible heard of the Book of Mormon and accepted it, additional scriptures were given to them – the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. This is in keeping with the principle “for unto him that receiveth I will give more.” (v. 30) However, many Christians who believed in the Bible and refused to accept the Book of Mormon as a new scriptural witness literally had their testimonies of the Bible taken away from them. Thus it should not be surprising to note that apparently many Christians today (including many Christian ministers today) do not accept the Bible as the literal word of God. They refused to accept the second scriptural witness when it came to them, so their first scriptural witness (1) has either been changed through new versions so that many of its essential teachings have been changed or (2) has been “explained away” by themselves or by “higher critics.” This abandonment of the Bible is in keeping with the principle enumerated by the Lord – “from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” (v. 30)

Do you think the conclusion of the authors of this lesson manual is correct; i.e., that alternate versions of the Bible and “explaining away” of the Bible by “higher critics” are evidence that a “taking away” has occurred?

Is an “explaining away” of modern scripture evident in the LDS community today? If so, to what extent, do you feel, that a “taking away” has occurred in the LDS community?

How many of us are there?

November 4, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 8:18 pm   Category: Theology

Is anyone else uncomfortable with the assumption there are an infinite number of human spirits/intelligences in existence?

What I mean is, it seems like a pretty common assumption among Mormons that there are an infinite number of beginningless and irreducible spirits waiting to inhabit future worlds (or for those who like the popular tripartite model: an infinite number of “intelligences” who are waiting to receive spirit bodies and then inhabit future worlds). If time is also infinite, as most of us assume, and an infinite number of inhabited worlds have already passed then it seems the assumption is that all of the following things currently exist:

-An infinite number of pre-mortal spirits/intelligences (who have been waiting an infinite amount of time to get a mortal probation according to most Mormons)
-An infinite number of resurrected people (who lived as mortals on the infinite number of previous earth-like planets)
-An infinite number of resurrected planets (to house those resurrected people)
-An infinite number of exalted people (gods or Gods depending on your assumption I suppose)
-An infinite number of sons (and daughters) of perdition

Of course this all assumes there is an infinite amount of space and matter in existence as well.

I dunno, I just don’t dig the idea of being just one of an infinite number of us. I much prefer the notion of a finite amount of beginningless and irreducible matter and space (despite the implications of that idea) and a finite number of beginningless spirits/intelligences in existence.

What do you think?