Universalism, Mormonism, and the Paradox of Thrift

November 28, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 1:34 am   Category: Universalism

As we have discussed in the past, Mormonism embraces at least a quasi-universalism in its teaching that hardly any of the inhabitants of the earth face an eternal hell after this life. And if it turns out that there is progression between kingdoms (an idea that has had both detractors and supporters among Church leaders over the years) then an even more robust form of universalism exists.

But as we have also discussed, it is not clear that it is useful to Mormonism (or to God for that matter) for all Mormons to embrace a more robust universalism even if it turns out to accurately represent reality. That is because universalism tends to kill motivation to repent and to work hard in the church. Why? Well to use the old “carrot and stick” motivation analogy (where the stick = negative consequences for actions and the carrot = positive consequences) universalism completely removes the “stick” when it comes to religious motivations.

The BYU-Utah Rivalry Game + Jimmertime

November 21, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 8:07 pm   Category: Sports

Remember when I used to post about Mormon theology a lot? No I can’t remember that far back either…

Anyway, this Saturday the BYU Cougars football team will head up I-15 to play the Utah Utes in the annual rivalry game. In recent years fans on both sides of this rivalry have gotten pretty nasty. Hopefully the meanness will recede over the next few years with the teams leaving the Mountain West Conference to go their separate ways. But this year should be pretty intense still. BYU has rebounded from an atrocious first half of the season and has won four in a row in convincing fashion to become bowl eligible again. More importantly, the BYU offense and defense both appear to have found their stride (even if it was against weak teams). Utah is trying to steady the (pirate?) ship again after rising all the way to #5 in the country and then being beaten soundly two weeks in a row. But the Utes did manage to hang on against a solid SDSU team this weekend so perhaps the Utes are back.

The real surprise is that BYU has a legitimate chance in the rivalry game this season. Five weeks ago it looked like BYU was going to be terrible all year and that Utah was practically a juggernaut. Utah will still be favored this weekend but as “Holy Wars” go this one looks more evenly matched than anyone would have thought a few weeks ago.


In the meantime the NCAA basketball season has begun. BYU is led this season by its first preseason AP All-American player since Danny Ainge in senior point guard Jimmer Fredette. The Cougs are currently 3-0 and ranked in the top 25. It is hard to tell how good this BYU team will be but I think they have a decent chance of being even better than the BYU team last year that won 30 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The biggest win of the season so far was a victory over a solid Utah State squad last Wednesday. BYU didn’t look great but a win over a good team is always a good thing. I expect to see BYU hoops in the top 20 soon.

Anyhow, sound off about the football season or hoops season in the comments. Oh, and Go Cougs!

EQ lesson for this Sunday: Baptism/Mikvah

November 12, 2010    By: Matt W. @ 10:53 pm   Category: PH/RS Lessons

So my current calling is to teach Elder’s Quorum once a month. It’s been about 8 years since I’ve taught the Gospel to adults, so I am feeling a bit rusty. I’ve taught 3 times now, and I haven’t quite found my rhythm. Anyway, I am posting my notes here in hopes that some of you brilliant folks here can come by and give me some pointers on what I can do to make this lesson better. I have decided not to do a power point, but to just go through the lesson material on the board, if I feel like I need to use a visual aide. My biggest challenge in teaching these lessons has been that I have two gentlemen with disabilities who wander radically off topic that I don’t know how to handle, so any tips for dealing with people with Schizoaffective Disorder and/or Autism/Aspergers would be greatly appreciated.

In praise of the white shirt

November 10, 2010    By: Matt W. @ 11:04 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

1. White shirts are cheaper than colored shirts, and thus more universally accessible

2. White shirts are easier to clean and maintain than colored shirts (just use bleach), so last longer and are therefore cheaper. They don’t fade. (They do become threadbare, but this is different)

3. White shirts go with any tie/suit/pants/shoes/belt.

4. A clean white shirt of any type (T-shirts in the Philippines) still can have a formal look to it in the right context.

5. Gandalf was more awesome when he wore white.

6. James Dean wore a white shirt.

7. Han Solo is more awesome than Luke Skywalker and he wore white shirts.

In all seriousness, if you are trying to be pseudo-rebellious by wearing a colored shirt to church, but are still wearing a tie, you are a schmuck. I’m not saying you can’t wear a colored shirt, as I don’t really care what color your shirt is, but if you think there is some sort of anti-establishment message there, you’ve got addled brains or are 12 (Is there a difference?) Did I really say “In all seriousness”?

That is all.

Welcome back BYU football

November 6, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 12:36 pm   Category: Sports

Well it looks like the BYU football team has finally made an appearance in the ninth game of the year. For the first time this year the offense, defense, and special teams all did their jobs. BYU went up 38-0 against lowly UNLV by halftime. It was 55-0 until the last minute when the BYU defensive backups gave up a TD. Final score: BYU 55 UNLV 7.

Sure, it was just hapless UNLV but this was by far the best the BYU offense has looked all year. The defense pretty much shut UNLV down as well.

BYU has a history getting better as the year progresses under Bronco. There is no better example of that than this 2010 team. This bodes well for BYU’s chances of winning at least six games and going to a bowl. And it bodes even better for years to come with the BYU underclassmen getting the hang of things.