Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Eternal Polygamy?

It has been my experience that when the subject of polygamy comes up in conversation among active Mormons, the most commonly expressed perspective is that polygamy (or, more accurately, polygyny) will be the order of marriage in heaven and will be practiced in the celestial kingdom.

It is painful for me to hear this perspective, particularly when it is expressed as though it is the only possible perspective that a faithful Mormon could have. Personally, I do not believe in eternal polygamy, and I find the concept to be horribly demeaning to women. The thought of my daughters spending eternity as polygamous wives breaks my heart. That sounds like hell, not heaven.

I am extremely grateful for those within the LDS tradition who have publicly expressed their faith that polygamy will have no place in the hereafter.  For example:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Dalai Lama and Prayer

In his address yesterday at the University of Utah, the Dalai Lama said:

There are a lot of problems that humanity is now facing. So much killing and starvation. … When we look at the television [and see what is happening] in the Middle East or Africa — children, due to malnourishment, their faces, it’s so sad. In the meantime? Violence, bombing. … So now, [we need] to tackle this problem, [but] not through prayer. … I’m Buddhist. In my daily practice, prayer is also included. For the individual, prayer is relevant and useful. But for society and the world, prayer — I think there is not much meaning.I’m quite skeptical [about] peace through prayer. … During war, I think both sides pray to God. … I think God finds it difficult [to decide whether] his blessings should go to this side or that side. … Peace comes only through action — not through prayer.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Humility Means...

The other day my daughter asked me what the word “humility” means. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the answer I gave, so I’ve been reflecting on her question. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, with some examples that come to mind.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Gesture of Love from "The Friend"?

This month’s cover of The Friend (a children’s magazine published by the LDS church) shows two children eating a watermelon. It’s a terrific drawing, but, at least at first glance, not that different from what you might expect to see on the cover of a children’s magazine. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed two things that make me smile.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Wisdom from "Spotlight"

In the movie Spotlight, (which is about the Boston Globe’s investigation of the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic church), there’s an interesting conversation between reporter Michael Rezendes and Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest who helped the Globe with their investigation:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Near-Death Experiences

One of the foundational teachings of most religions, including my own, is that some part of us — usually called the “spirit” or “soul” — continues to live after physical death. Near-death experiences (NDEs) strengthen my faith that this is true.

I recognize that NDEs do not prove there is an afterlife. It is certainly possible that NDEs are caused by nothing more than physical changes in a stressed or dying brain. I have read about a number of proposed materialist explanations for NDEs, such as the release of endorphins or other opioids, lowered levels of oxygen, increased levels of carbon dioxide, imperfect anesthesia, etc. Personally, however, I don’t find these explanations particularly compelling.

The following are some of the most notable NDEs that I’ve read about (and for which the proposed materialist explanations seem inadequate):