Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Clay Whipkey examines the ‘Peculiar Similarities’ between Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

An Honorable Release?

The position of Apostle in the LDS church has traditionally been a life long calling, but what of the prospect for an emeritus statues for the most elderly of these Church leaders? John Nilsson opens this possibility to discussion on the blog Mormon matters (click here). While a sort of emeritus statues is the norm for former Bishops and Stake Presidents, and may officially be granted to former members of the Churches third ranking body, the Quorums of Seventy, I don’t foresee it transcending to the Twelve Apostles or the First Presidency. It goes against to much tradition and precedent, and would present the difficult prospect of having to multiple ordained Church presidents alive at the same time. A similar debate has gone on in certain quarters within the Catholic Church for years as regards the office of the Pope.

Some Glenn Beck Video's:

Glenn Beck on his conversion to Mormonism.

Glenn Beck on the passing of Gordon B. Hinckley.
Mormon Apostles participate in prayer service during recent U. S. visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

Mormon Media "Perfect Storm"

A marked increase in media coverage of the LDS Church in recent years has been dubbed “The perfect storm” by LDS author Richard Bushman. The 2002 Winter Olympics could be said to have started this, but really the increase in coverage can be largely attributed to the now defunct Mitt Romney campaign and the passing of Church president Gordon B. Hinckley. Joel Campbell of Mormon Times takes a look at this phenomena from an international perspective and shows that many myths and misconceptions about the Mormon people continue to be spread through the media. Click here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Confrence Trip (to Murry)

I got off work a couple of hours early on Friday so I would be prepped and ready for my trip down to Utah for the Conference weekend. I had a little bit of hard time concentrating at work on Thursday, so it was a blessing that my work schedule for Friday consisted entirely of ‘Diversity Training’. I am not opposed to this concept, it may be worth while in some respects, but mostly it served to make Friday highly un-stressful for me at work (which is nice). I did get to leave about an hour or so before the class finished, so its possible I missed a group sing-a-long to “We Are The World”.

After a brief dinner I headed over to Katie’s house, the girlfriend of my roommate Joe who, along with the aforementioned Katie and her roommate Stephanie, where to be my traveling companions to Utah. We took Stephanie’s car and had a mostly boring night drive down to Katie’s parents condo in Murry Utah, a little south of Salt Lake. We arrived at about 1:40 in the morning (we didn’t leave Boise until close to eight and stopped a few times along the way). So naturally we slept in until the start of conference.

There had been talk of going down to Temple Square and at least walking around the grounds for a session, listing to the proceedings being broadcast by speaker throughout the little Mormon Vatican. However we never did quite make it down there. The Saturday morning session was particularly important in that it was a “Solum (sp) Assembly”, an LDS ritual dating back to the Church’s Jubilee Conference of 1880 and the formal sustaining of John Taylor as Brigham Young’s succesor and the third president of the Church. In a Solum Assembly a new Church president is officially sustained, as are the rest of the Church leadership, happily this process has become truncated over time. We also learned the identify of the new Apostle, D. Todd Christofferson, a long time President of the Seventy. I don’t know to much about Christofferson though his name is well known and he appears to be a moderate. He sereved as a law clerk to John Sirice during the Watergate hearings and spent most of his corporate carrier as legal council to Nations Bank. As a church leader he has been mostly involved with issues related to the genealogy and temple work programs.

Between conference sessions I watched a documentary on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (recent shake-ups in the leadership there) and a couple of ’World Report’ programs and ate a fine sandwich. I also becmae fascianted by the Mormon themed comericals: 'Come to our bank and open a savings fund for your child's mission.' After eating I and most of those with me proceeded to largely sleep through the afternoon session (sleeping through conference sessions is an unsanctioned but common Mormon ritual). After the afternoon session Joe and I traveled with Katie’s dad (also named Joe) to down town SLC on ’The Tracks’ to visit Sam Waller’s Book Store, one of my favorite places on Earth. Ironically I didn’t get anything there, there were a number of things I was looking for but strangely couldn’t find anyway. We didn’t have long to brose however, as we had to catch another Tracks train up to the University of Utah Campus, where we watched the Priesthood Session at the Institute building. This had been my first trip to “The U” since Jackson and I went to visit Megan and Kristin there back in 1999.

After Priesthood we went to a good Mexican restaurant and I had a sweet burrito courtesy of Joe the Elder. I should mention that I quite liked the Peterson’s (Katie’s family), there an intellectual and slightly corky bunch, mostly professors and lawyers, the author Levi Peterson is an Uncle to Joe. After returning home we watched a Pink Panther movie and went to bed, arising again the next morning just in time for Conference. Alyson joined us for a Dutch oven lunch with the Petersons and then she and the rest of us from Friday’s trip began the journey back home (Alyson had traveled down with a friend separately on Friday).

We listened to the last session of conference on the way back and then generally tried not to go stir crazy. We arrived back home at eight, but I proved so exhausted that after returning home and eating I slept for about ten hours and ended up having to call in sick on Monday. There was just no way I could have functioned at work, and it was probably best that I didn’t drive so shortly after awakening from an intense sleep. Anyway not a particularly interesting story but I haven’t gone on a trip since the one I took with my dad to the funeral of a 98 year old great aunt in Malad, and that was back in August of last year, so it just felt really good to get out.

I felt we really got to know President Monson at this conference, I mean he’s been around forever but always as the consaument number two man. He kind of extended himself in his remarks opening up with anticdoates about the family and some story’s I hadn’t heard before, and President Monson can tell a story with the best of them. I think particularly with his remarks in his finally sermon of the conference, where he told about the 27 day period in which his wife Francis was in a comma following a fall earlier this year, we really got a grand sense of what a simply good person he is. I think it was during that address that he fully stepped into the shoes of President Hinckley for the Mormon people. It was a good conference about stepping into the future, even with the counterpoint of the government raid on the FLDS compound in Texas (the biggest since the Short Creek Raid of ’53) serving as an eerie counterpoint, reminding us of our past.