Nov 07

The Fine Art of Spiritual Vaccines

I was recently called as my ward’s early-morning seminary teacher. I’ll pause to let you all wince.

There are many challenges to this calling, but, to my surprise, waking up at 5:15 AM is not the greatest challenge. (This isn’t to say it’s the smallest challenge, either; I’m not a morning person, at all, and I freely admit to having some very un-Christian feelings in my heart–and words in my mouth–when that alarm goes off.) Continue reading

Aug 15

On Asking to Be Released

I know we’ve talked about this subject before, but since I’m currently debating with myself over it, I decided to bring it up again and let the rest of you debate with me.

I’m currently the leader of the wolf den in cub scouts (with another woman) and the teacher of the 6-7yo primary class (with my husband). I hate it. I’ve been doing them both about 9 months, and I’ve hated them pretty much the whole time. I guess the primary class was okay for two or three weeks, but that’s about it. I knew I wouldn’t like the callings when I accepted them, but I’m a big believer in accepting any and all callings, so I did. Continue reading

Jul 02

Abraham and Milgram

(Disclaimer: I’m not really attempting in this post to give a plausible read of Genesis 22, as I realize that my speculations about Abraham have little basis in the scriptural text. Rather, I’m hoping to use the story as a way of raising general questions about the potential consequences of obedience vs. integrity situations. And, of course, what’s the fun of blogging if not to engage in a bit of wild speculation?)

In the 1960s, social psychologist Stanley Milgram did a study on obedience that has since become legendary. Participants were told to administer electric shocks to people, ostensibly as part of an experiment on learning. What was fascinating–and disturbing–was how willing participants were to continue inflicting higher and higher levels of shocks, despite cries of acute distress from those apparently receiving them (though this was of course faked; the “learners” were confederates in the study). The participants expressed discomfort, but ordered by the experimenter to continue, the majority of them did so–65 percent went up to the highest setting of 450 volts.

Continue reading