Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Community of Christ Maps

I love maps, I love Church history, so I thought I’d share with you these maps for a yet unpublished history of the Community of Christ Church, graciously shared with us all by there creator, a guy who writes for the By Common Consent blog.

Mormon Super Patriots: Not Always So

The conception of American Mormons as generally very patriotic, yea nationalistic citizens, is for the most part a valid one (Utah I believe was the last state in which George W. Bush enjoyed over a 50% approval rating). But this has not always been so, and indeed the development of the Mormon embrace of establishment America is a strain in the history of the Church that very much fascinates me. Here is a short blog post that focuses on those early years in the Latter-day Saint movement when America was just another gentile nation doomed to the wrath of God.

The Horror of Lady's Bicycling

I am surprised just how familiar this editorial from an 1896 issue of The Juvenile Instructor Sounds. Films, the internet, popular music, I also remember ‘mosh pits’ being specifically warned against in the 1990’s. If it’s a possible direct, or even tangential source of sin, its likely to be warned against in print or over the pulpit by some influential Mormon, some time, some where. I recall as a teenager be warned at a Church camp by an earnest Stake President about the immortality of the film The Horse Whisper, which the average 17 year old is not going to be inclined to see, and even if he did see it, would not likely remain awake the whole time. Yesterday being the 50th anniversary of ’The Day the Music Died’ I can also tell that Don McLean’s American Pie was once morally disparaged at Church camp as well. I tell you the man who gave these warning is in many ways a wonderful guy, but his standards, man. Anyway I can only imagine what George Q. Cannon would say about ward youth swim parties.

January 20th, 2009

I know, I know I’m late with this one, but is it not a bloggers duty to chronicle their reactions to significant events of our times? I think it is, and there has been perhaps no more significant an event since Sept 11th 2001, then the inauguration of the first black president of the United States (Important note: I’m not equating these two events in terms of value judgment).

First a brief note on George W. Bush’s passing from the scene: I will read his book, which I was surprised to hear (from the now ex-Presidents mouth on Nightline no less) that he intends to write. The man will doubtless be a pariah for some time to come, but I have this long held suspicion that he will eventually come to be redeemed in the eyes of the American people, though not necessarily the historians. This is because he stuck by his guns, and presidents who do that tend to be remembered well even if not all that popular in there own time (think Harry Truman). It is this same principle that leaves me with a grudging respect for Woodrow Wilson, despite the fact that he really left a lot of damage in his wake.

The Inauguration was of course exiting, it was kind of like a reunion show for the entire zeitgeist. Al Gore talking with John McCain at the post inaugural luncheon, Colin Powell seated next to Steven Spielberg to watch the ceremonies. The new President gave a 4 out of 5 speech that captured the moment but didn’t have the one great sound bite that Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Kennedy had. Plus say what you will about that hat, Aretha Franklin is a national treasure, though we really only trout her out for things like Olympic opening ceremony’s and the like.

Still my favorite moment has to be the comic contrast of 88 year old justice Stevens flawlessly swearing in vice president Joe Biden, while the 50ish chief justice Roberts messes up the mere 35 words he had to say at like three places. Anyway I thought the Inauguration a worthwhile historic moment to take a few hours off of work to bask in. So far President Obama’s polling about a 69% approval rating (a rather striking change of pace from the last 5 years), though to paraphrase Dennis Miller his cabinet could sure use Tax Masters.