A Good Read

There have been a number of posts and references around the bloggernacle recently about what constitutes a good book. The Wiz lamented the state of bestsellers, Heather O talked about what she thinks is a good story (and in doing so, referenced those she thought were bad), and Adam linked to A Reader’s Manifesto, which attacks recent Literary Works. All of this got me thinking about what I consider a good book. Read More

Endowed Before Mission or Marriage: Discuss and Enlighten Me

On Ziff’s recent thread the subject of the church discouraging people to get their endowments before a mission or marriage was discussed (a little bit). Since I’m very interested in the subject, I thought I’d start a post where we can discuss it. I’m going to share my experiences with and impressions about this. I hope that the rest of you will share yours as well. Read More

Changing Course in Life

I haven’t been around as much the past little while because I’ve been on the job market, moving, and preparing for a new job. No, I haven’t finished my dissertation. I’m currently rethinking my life plans, and I have found a job as a secondary school English teacher, which I will start in a couple weeks (which means I probably continue to be scarce for the next month or two as I adjust to the new job).

It’s all kind of strange because I’ve wanted to be an English professor since high school. But the past year or so, that dream has been slowly fading, though I didn’t recognize it until I had a sudden moment of realization a couple months ago. Read More

Why Discourage Women from Serving Missions?

About a month ago, my beloved sister (and occasional ZD contributor) Melyngoch entered the MTC on her way to the Sweden Stockholm mission. I expect that she will be a very good missionary. She seems to have a great sense of purpose: she knows who she is and what she is doing and why.

I suspect that there are probably many twenty-something women in the Church who would similarly make very good missionaries. So I wonder why the Church discourages women from serving. Read More

New Format

Welcome to the new, and maybe even improved, version of ZD. We’re still looking, however, for a plugin that takes the energy you put into blogging and uses it to complete other tasks, such as writing papers and washing the dishes.

How Studying Theology Has Impacted My Faith

A question I get a lot at church is that of how studying theology has impacted my testimony. Sometimes people make comments along the lines of how studying the beliefs of others must be quite faith-promoting, with an apparent assumption that the musings of non-LDS religious thinkers are likely so self-evidently ridiculous or confusing that they could only result in my having a greater appreciation for the simple clarity of the restored gospel. Others wonder, by contrast, whether engaging religion academically might be dangerous, might undermine my belief in the LDS church. I am not comfortable, however, with either of these paradigms. What I study has in fact profoundly influenced my faith, but in complex ways. Read More

Credentials: Do You Have Any Idea Who You’re Talking To?

I have mixed feelings about announcements of credentials. We’ve all seen credentials waved about obnoxiously or induce obsequiesness in otherwise rational persons. (I think here of the breathless tones in which some used to pronounce the name Hugh Nibley, for instance–tones I tend to suspect Nibley himself would not endorse.) In general, though, I really like to know what someone has studied or is studying. Education–what we love, what we know, what we hope to know–is an important part of who we are and of the perspectives we bring to various issues. And in any case, the Bloggernacle is so awash in credentials they lose some of their unhealthy power in a healthy way, I think, simply by virtue of the fact that a third of the people blogging at any given moment are avoiding their dissertations. Read More

Family History and Guilt

I have been working in the professional field of Family History for about two years now. Whenever I tell someone what I do for a living, I get a pretty standard response. “Oh,” they say, “I should be doing my family history but I just don’t have the time.” Usually I make some placating comment about doing it later in life or make some remark about just finding a little time. But part of me is screaming to say, “Don’t do your Family History because you feel you should, do it because you want to.” Too many people simply do and redo work for people because of guilt and, honestly, they are missing both the point and the fun of doing Family History. Read More