Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given:. . .and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a great one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If the Savior Stood Beside Me

There's a relatively new primary song entitled If the Savior Stood Beside Me. The song starts out "If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?" The point of this song, I'm sure, is a thought experiment wherein if the answer to that question is no, then we shouldn't be doing it at all. I engaged in that thought experiment this morning while getting ready for work, and the answer to the question is, in nearly all cases, no. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't be doing what I'm doing.

If the Savior stood beside me, I wouldn't clean my apartment. I wouldn't cook dinner. I wouldn't go to work or run errands. I wouldn't even read my scriptures. I would sit down, be quiet, and listen to what He has to say to me. The many worthy pursuits of my life would pause for something more important, but that doesn't mean that I should stop going to work, taking care of the necessities of life, or reading my scriptures. It means we should be mindful of the appropriate time and place for doing the various activities in life. After all, "to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Bloggernacle Rant

And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building... And it was filled with people ... and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
1 Nephi 8:26-27
I suppose I should start out by saying that for the most part, the Bloggernacle has been a positive force in my life. However, what follows is a rant about the one thing that really upsets me about a general attitude among some Bloggernacle participants.

Many Bloggernacle participants (myself included) experience tension with the prevailing culture of the church. Several participants (myself not included) either do not believe the theological claims of the church or do not participate in the church. So far, so good.

My issue comes when some of those who don't believe in or participate in the church act superior to those who do - as if they're more "enlightened" than those of us who do. The biggest example that comes to mind is regarding the law of chastity. (For my non-LDS readers, the law of chastity is the commandment to abstain from premarital sex and to be completely faithful to one's spouse.)

There doesn't seem to be much disagreement on the subject of adultery. We all appear to be in agreement that a person shouldn't cheat on his/her spouse. The disagreement comes on the subject of premarital sex.

It's certainly fair game to discuss what Alma was really saying to Corianton on the subject. It's fair game to discuss how serious a sin premarital sex is (or if it's even really a sin). It's fair game to discuss whether the church teaches the subject in a constructive manner, and whether there are any unintended consequences of those teachings. But what isn't fair game is to belittle those people who, despite its difficulty, are true and faithful to their temple covenants.

There are numerous posts where commenters have mentioned that it's stupid to avoid premarital sex. Others have said it's impossible. Others have said that people who obey the law of chastity are repressed. I was listening to an old podcast yesterday that basically said that no unmarried member of the church over a certain age is really keeping the law of chastity.

Well, I'm sick of it. I'm not stupid, I'm not repressed, and I do exist. I made a solemn promise to God in the temple and I have kept and intend to continue keeping that promise. There are other Bloggernacle participants in the same boat. So, seriously, get out of the great and spacious building and leave us alone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Locust-eaten Years

I got my bar exam results, and it turns out I'm in the same boat as several prominent and successful individuals. Which is to say, I failed the bar. The CA bar is notoriously difficult, and only about 45-55% of people pass it. (So it's not really too embarrassing to fail the CA bar. The dean of Stanford's law school failed the CA bar while she was the dean and after she had been a prominent lawyer in other jurisdictions for years. If I had failed one of the bar exams with a 97% pass rate, then I would be embarrassed. Right now, I'm more disappointed and annoyed than anything.)

I really wish I could finally have gotten a break in this whole law school ordeal. I mean, something should go right for once! But no, I always have to do things the hard way. If everything had gone according to my original plan, I would have graduated from law school in May 2007 (instead of May 2011). I would have been admitted to the bar in November 2007. Now, best case scenario, assuming I pass the bar in February, I'll be admitted to the bar in May 2012. That's a full 4 1/2 years later than I planned. People are supposed to have their act together by their mid-20's. I'm going to be 30 before I get admitted to the bar. Then there are still the itinerant years before I land my tenure track job. I'll probably be 35 before I'm stable.

But I take comfort in one of my favorite Old Testament scriptures.
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten...And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
Joel 2:25-27
God has my back. And what's even better, He'll give me back my lost time. I can't go back in time 10 years and do things differently, but God can fix it so that the lost time will have no lasting negative effects on my life. Whatever was in God's plan for my life before this delay will still be possible after this delay. I just need to hang in there.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Living Water

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:38
After yesterday's downer, I promised a more upbeat post on the fantastic Saturday session of the mid-singles conference. So, here it is.

I arrived and mingled for a while. I met a guy who is in his last semester of law school, so we talked about law school for a bit. (There's something about the legal profession that creates an instant kinship when two people meet. I don't know why, but there it is.) I gave him a pep talk about the bar exam because he's a bit worried about it. Then we exchanged business cards. Then I ran into one of my friends who I hadn't seen in a while, and we took a seat in preparation for the keynote address.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

[There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:5-6
I attended a mid-singles conference this weekend in the Bay Area. It spanned three days, with social activities on Friday night, spiritual/educational lectures on Saturday, and a church service on Sunday. Saturday was fantastic, and my report on that can be found here. Today's church service, however, wounded my soul deeply.

The keynote speaker for today's service was Julie Beck, the general president of the Relief Society. When President Beck got up to speak, I was hoping that what had been a wonderful Christ centered conference would be concluded with yet another message focusing on the Savior. Sadly, this was not the case.

Friday, October 7, 2011

As we are, God once was

There's a poetic couplet in the church (by Lorenzo Snow, I think) that I heard a lot as a teenager but that I don't hear much now. It goes "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become."

Its applicability/accuracy has been questioned. [1] But, as a thought experiment, I'm going to take it and see where it goes.

As a teenager, I picked up the implication that the couplet referred to our Father in Heaven. After all, at church, when we say God, we almost always are referring to the Father. I think, however, that the couplet takes on a more enlightening meaning if we interpret it instead to refer to Jesus Christ.

The scriptures suddenly made more sense to me when I had the epiphany about 10 years ago that "God" is not the name of the Father. It is a title that is properly applied to either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. For example, Matthew refers to Christ as "God with us" when writing about the birth of Christ [2], and Christ refers to Himself as God when discussing His sufferings for our sins. [3]

So, since Christ can properly be referred to as God, the couplet can be interpreted as follows:
As man is, God once was;
Jesus was born as an infant. He grew into a child, then a man. He lived as one of us, subject to the pains and sorrows of life. He had friends and family. He had enemies. He wept. And finally, He died.
As God is, man may become.
Christ was risen from the dead, never to die again. He dwells in a glorious realm, free from toil and strife. He can be forever with His loved ones. This can be our eternal reward as well.

[1] When Gordon B. Hinckley was interviewed on Larry King Live and asked about that couplet, he downplayed its doctrinal significance.
[2] Matthew 1:23 "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
[3] Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-18 "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent...Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore..."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Every now and then I feel like I've taken too long to get started on my life. (I know that most of why my start on life was delayed was due to forces outside my control and the rest of the delay was because I served a mission, but melancholy doesn't respond to logic.) When my parents were my age, they owned a house and had two kids, my dad was established in his career, and the only debt they had was their mortgage. I just barely finished school, I'm in limbo in a dead-end job because nobody is hiring lawyers, I still rent, and I have massive student loan debt.

I had an epiphany last weekend, though. One of the speakers at General Conference (I don't remember who) was talking about the life of Christ. The thought came to me that Jesus didn't start His ministry until He was 30. So, the next time my melancholy or some busybody gives me grief for not being with the program, I'll just say that I'm following the example of the Savior!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recap of General Conference

This past weekend was General Conference. If you want to watch or listen to it, you can go here. If you want to read a good summary and commentary, visit By Common Consent.

I did massive housework while listening to conference. Sadly, I only got halfway done with my fall cleaning. (I try to do spring cleaning, but law school got in the way this year, so now that I don't have that excuse, it's fall cleaning.) So now my apartment looks worse than it did before I started. But my kitchen sparkles. I'll take care of the clutter in my living room this week.

And in other news, I now have a second cat. My neighbor moved last week, and she had an outdoor cat that she couldn't take with her. I offered to take him in, and I introduced him to my cat a few weeks ago. After two meetings, it became clear that this wasn't going to work. The cats hated each other and were constantly hissing. So my neighbor found another neighbor to feed him.

On Saturday, my neighbor came by to check on Kitty. He had been sad and moping all week, but when she showed up, he perked right up. The manager walked by and said that she was going to call the pound because he had been abandoned. (Which was totally not true.) So after the manager left, I said I would take Kitty.

I brought him inside and miraculously the two cats are tolerating one another. They still hiss at each other, but they're learning to share the food and litter box. I'm hoping they'll become friends soon. Kitty stares longingly outside. I feel bad for keeping him in, but I know if the manager sees him outside again, she'll take him to the pound. (And she's so unpleasant that I'm sure she would remove his collar first so that the pound wouldn't know to call me to come get him.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Matching Dishes

When I moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment several years ago, I bought all of my dishes, pots, pans, etc. from the thrift store. They were serviceable items, though they weren't that nice and they didn't match. My mom tried to comfort me by saying that when I get married, I can register for matching dishes. I didn't really care that my dishes didn't match because I was just so excited to be a real grown up with a real apartment.

Well, the coating on my thrift store pans has flaked off, my plates are chipping, my set of 5 pairs of chopsticks is down to 1 1/2, and my last bowl split in half. So, I decided it was time to replace them.

I headed to the thrift store to see if I could find new stuff. The stuff that was there wasn't in good condition, so I passed on it. Then I ordered some cookware off the internet. But I still didn't have plates and bowls. I had to run to the drugstore for some other stuff, and while I was there, I saw a sale on dishes. I bought a beautiful service for four consisting of dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls.

So, now I have brand new cookware and matching dishes. It's my graduation/remission present to myself. But in a way, it's also my non-wedding present to myself. While I certainly would like to find someone to share my life with, I'm ok if I don't. I have a happy and full life; I'm not stuck in some pseudo-adult limbo. And I don't need to wait for a man in order to have matching dishes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who are the sons of perdition?

...and are there any daughters of perdition?

I was reading section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants recently and a few questions occurred to me. I was always taught that the telestial kingdom is where all the bad people go, but that it's still a kingdom of glory and a pretty good place (just not as good as the others). I was also taught that those who go to outer darkness would be very few. Speculation abounded as to just what would be required to go there, and most people seemed to think that the only thing that would qualify is having a sure knowledge (like a personal visitation or something) of the Savior and then completely turning against that knowledge.

That definition was comforting on one hand, removing much of the fear of ever messing up so badly as to end up in eternal torment. On the other hand, it always sat wrong with me that basically that definition would mean that someone as totally evil as Hitler would end up with the same eternal fate as a liar or thief. I mean, yeah, they're both sinners, but there's a huge chasm in the magnitude of those sins.

As I was reading the definition of those in the telestial kingdom, I was struck by something. The people who go there are the unrepentant liars and adulterers, etc. Murderers aren't listed among those who inherit telestial glory. So, where do unrepentant murderers go?[1]

Friday, September 2, 2011

Around the Bloggernacle - Volume 10

Marriage sure has been a big topic around the Bloggernacle this week.

By Common Consent has a post about the judgment that divorced members feel among ward members.

Wheat and Tares has two posts - One about ways to improve the mid-singles program, and one decrying the trend of people marrying later.

I've blogged a bit on the subject, and I don't really feel like rehashing everything I've said before. I do, however, want to bring up the point that a lot of the marriage rhetoric in the church seems to be along the lines of encouraging people to just get married to anyone with a pulse and a temple recommend. But people forget that marriage requires two people with compatible life paths to be in love with each other at the same time. Sometimes that takes a while. For those of you who found the right person at age 21, I'm happy for you. But I didn't. And I'm not some slacker just because the stars haven't aligned properly for me yet.

As we learn in song:
You can't hurry love. No, you just have to wait.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Other Side of Missionary Life

I just discovered a new blog called Both Sides Now, published by Beatrice and Galdralag. (Beatrice and Galdralag are frequent commenters at Zelophehad's Daughters, so I'm excited to see their blog.) They're off to a great start.

Beatrice wrote an excellent post about emotional abuse in missionary companionships. This is a topic that is shrouded in silence, and I'm grateful that she is shedding some light on the issue. As I have alluded to before, my trainer was emotionally abusive. What follows is an expanded version of my already lengthy comment on Beatrice's post explaining my experience.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8
Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes - a list of nine types of people who are blessed, and what they're blessed with. While they're all great, my favorite is "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

I looked pure up in the dictionary, and there was one definition that stuck out to me. "Free from inappropriate elements." We all sin, so our hearts become impure. However, through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, we can be purified. So, even though we are not pure on our own, we can become pure in heart and we can see God.

While it's certainly possible that some people will have actual visions of deity, I think a more common fulfillment of this scripture is that those who have a pure heart will see divinity all around them.

God's fingerprints are all over creation. The tiny dandelion poking up through the cracks in the driveway, the majestic eagle flying overhead, the stars in the heavens. In addition, the Holy Spirit can be our constant companion. We can literally walk with God throughout our day.

Go see God today!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writer's Block

I have a bit of writer's block. I've started about 7 blog posts on various topics, but I can't seem to finish them. I also have a half-finished law review article awaiting my attention. I have no energy to write, or even to think about writing.

For those of you who have experienced writer's block, how did you get through it? I don't have the adrenaline inducing deadlines I had in law school, though if I want to get hired on the academic market I do need to publish. It's just that the deadlines are so nebulous.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Bar of Judgment

The scriptures often refer to judgment as the "bar of God" or talk about the "judgment bar". Well, I took the bar exam last week, and the metaphor makes so much more sense. The merits of my education were being judged and my worthiness to be an attorney was being weighed. Had I learned properly to "think like a lawyer"? Do I know enough?

There is one big difference between California's bar exam and God's bar exam, though. Grace. California's bar examiners don't care what I had to go through to get to where I am, and they're disinclined to cut anyone any slack. God, on the other hand, is merciful and loving. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows and has power to save us. And all we have to do is come to Him.

Moroni gives a great description of this in his final chapter.
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.
Moroni 10:32, 34
The judgment day is described as a good thing. Standing before God is the "pleasing bar". It's not pleasing because of our own efforts. It's pleasing because of God's grace. And God is willing to cut us a lot more slack than some anonymous bar examiner.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jesus Wept

Even people who have never cracked a Bible often are familiar with the shortest verse of scripture - Jesus wept.* Those two words contain something profound.

The setting is in the town of Bethany, a short distance from Jerusalem. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, had fallen ill, and while Jesus was en route, Lazarus died. Jesus told His disciples that He would raise Lazarus from the dead. When He arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days.

Martha was the first to greet Him. She said, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." Jesus responded with one of the most beautiful verses in the New Testament. "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

Next, Mary greeted Him. "Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled."

Mary greeted Jesus with almost the same words.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why Dress Modestly?

There has been quite a controversy around the Bloggernacle the past few weeks about modesty of dress and how it should be taught at church.

Julie M. Smith started off at Times and Seasons with a post entitled Stop Telling the YW to Be Modest for the YM. She objects to the commonly stated view that the reason we need to teach teenage girls to dress modestly is to avoid arousing the teenage boys (and men in general). She doesn't have a problem with modest dress per se; her problem is with the way it is taught.

Geoff J posted a rebuttal at New Cool Thang entitled Please Keep Telling the YW to be Modest for the YM. He basically said that women who dress in an immodest manner are inviting sexual attention, and they need to be told that so that they will cover up and not invite that attention.

Kmillecam posted a rebuttal at The Exponent entitled Modesty: Rape Culture, Rape Apology, Young Women, Young Men. Her point was that promoting the idea that a woman's dress invites sexual attention is on the same spectrum of telling a rape victim that she was asking for it by what she wore.

I agree with Julie and Kmillecam. It is totally inappropriate to put the burden of men's sexuality on women. This model is oppressive and contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It also improperly makes modesty a strictly female phenomenon. Modesty is not a strictly female phenomenon; all of God's people should be modest.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Around the Bloggernacle - Volume 9

I wanted to highlight two great posts around the Bloggernacle this week. The first one is by Seraphine at Zelophehad's Daughters. It's part of her series on 30-something single members in the church. This post is about dating advice, and she shares a list of bad advice people have given her.

The second post is by Ardis Parshall at Keepapitchinin. It's a response to Seraphine's post, and Ardis talks about what it's like being a 50-something single member in the church.

Both posts highlight the point that often the church doesn't know what to do with single members. I think the first step would be for the membership to recognize that this isn't the "church of eternal families". It's the church of Jesus Christ!

One of my favorite scriptures is in Ephesians 2:19, where Paul preached to the newly converted Christians.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
Too often, single members of the church are treated as "strangers and foreigners" instead of "fellowcitizens with the saints". We can do better.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Religious Accommodation in Athletics - Updated

One of my areas of academic interest is religious accommodation, both in law and in social custom. I'm interested in ways to facilitate a society in which people are free to participate in society as much as they desire while also being as religious as they desire. I think one of the best ways to achieve this is for everybody to communicate, set aside their preconceived notions about the other side, and work to reach a solution that works for everybody. (Wow, I sound like an HR person even when I'm not at work...)

The past few weeks, there have been a few stories in the news regarding religious accommodations (or lack thereof) in athletics. The typical religious accommodation in athletics stories that I hear about in the news involve people who observe a holy day and have to choose between keeping that day holy and competing in an important event. (Think Chariots of Fire.) However, the recent stories have involved religious dress requirements that have come into conflict with competition rules.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I had to close comments on my post "Are you considering law school?" because spammers keep hitting it. It's an old post, so I hope it won't inconvenience anyone who has something to say about it.

Blogging is going to be a bit sporadic around here for the summer since I'm working full-time and studying for the bar exam. I'm not studying or working on Sundays, so I'll try to get at least one post per week up, but no guarantees. (If I get really creative, I'll write a bunch of posts on Sundays and make use of the auto-publish feature to have regular blogging throughout the week, but I certainly don't want to promise that.)

Graduation was on Saturday, and it was great. It still doesn't feel real. I think when I get sworn in as a member of the bar, that's when it will feel real.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Looking Back, Moving Forward

It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle: that it must be lived forward.
Søren Kierkegaard
At times of transition in my life, I often look back and wonder what I would have done differently if I had it to do all over again. As my law school graduation approaches this weekend, I've been running in mental circles trying to figure out if I could have made these past 10 years better.

Ten years ago, in 2001, I was 19 years old. I was on top of the world, just finishing up my sophomore year in college. I was in the ROTC, and I was about to take command of the color guard. I had my life all planned out. I was going to finish college, join the Air Force, go to law school, and spend my career as a JAG officer. (I also planned on getting married, living in a house with a white picket fence with 2.4 kids and a dog. Well, a cat. I don't really like dogs.)

Life didn't happen quite like I planned.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Done with law school

I turned in my last paper on Saturday, so I'm now, finally, done with law school.

It's been a really long road with a lot of bumps along the way. A lot of people told me I should just give up because I couldn't make it.

Well, I'm glad I didn't listen to them. They were wrong.

The reality of it all hasn't fully sunk in yet. I'll write a better blog post when it has.

Graduation is on Saturday. I'm sure I'll be a big sobbing mess.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reminder on the Comment Policy

I operated this blog for a long time without a comment policy. A few months ago, I created one and announced it in this post here.

Nobody goes digging through the archives, so I've created a permanent page for the comment policy. It can be viewed here.

Keep coming by, and keep commenting, but keep it civil!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thoughts on Prayer

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
2 Nephi 32:9
Latter-day Saints pray a lot. Recently, I was curious how often the typical practicing church member prays, so I sat down and counted it. (The number varies based on what day of the week it is and what kind of family situation the person is in.)
  • At a minimum, an active church member will pray in the morning upon getting up, before each meal, and in the evening before going to bed. (Assuming 3 meals per day, the running total so far is 5.)
  • On a day with church meetings, the number increases, since each meeting begins and ends with prayer. (Assuming it's a Sunday, that's 6 more prayers, bringing the total to 11.)
  • For people who are in family situations with more than one practicing church member, there is also family prayer. (I wasn't raised in the church, so I don't know how most families do family prayer. Is it morning and night, or just at night? Running total, 12 or 13.)
Plus, there's the option to approach God in prayer any time we feel a need, and we're supposed to keep a prayer in our hearts at all times. So, the answer to my initial question ranges from 5 to infinity.

Monday, May 2, 2011

On the Death of bin Laden

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 5:43-44
I'll admit straight up that I'm not a good enough Christian to pray for someone as evil as Osama bin Laden. I know I'm supposed to love my enemies and pray for them, but I can't.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Tale of Two Dinners

This weekend, I attended two separate dinners sponsored by organizations of religious members of the legal profession. On Friday evening, I attended a dinner sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society (JRCLS is the association of LDS lawyers). This evening, I attended a dinner sponsored by the Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers.

I have to say, this evening's dinner was way better. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. There were people of all ages, all races, and from many different parts of the country and the world. There were an equal number of men and women, and I did not feel out of place. The people were genuinely interested in me. When I arrived at the event, I only knew one other person (the professor who invited me). By the time I left, I had exchanged business cards with several lawyers and made friends with the other law students present.

Contrast this with a typical JRCLS event, where I show up surrounded by cliquish old guys from Utah. I'm almost always the only woman present, and I'm usually ignored because the lawyers assume I'm just there tagging along as the spouse of whichever man I happen to be talking to. (I always love seeing the look on their faces when I mention that I'm the vice president of the student chapter. You would think they had seen a unicorn or something.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making Peace with Abraham

For as long as I can remember, I've had a problem with the story of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice Isaac. It has always made me supremely uncomfortable for multiple reasons.
  • First, I'm uncomfortable with the notion that God would command what would in any other context be a premeditated murder.
  • Second, I'm uncomfortable with the notion that God would command something and then basically say "just kidding" at the end. It seems like a really manipulative trick that isn't part of the character of the God I love and worship.
  • Third, I dislike how the story is used to justify all sorts of situational ethics. Basically, people cite the story as precedent for doing all sorts of horrible acts in the name of God.
For a while, I put this concern on the shelf. [1] Over the past few months, though, it's fallen off my shelf. I've been wrestling and struggling with the story, and I think I've come to a resolution.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Feminist Mormon Housewives Community Spotlight

I've been spotlighted over at Feminist Mormon Housewives. I'm honored to be part of such a great online community.

You can read the spotlight here. I'm closing comments on this post, so if you want to comment, please do so at fMh!

God of the Oppressed, Part 2

Part 1, available here, discussed what we can learn from the story of Hagar in the desert. Today's installment will discuss what we can learn from the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus.

The following will be a familiar story, celebrated every Easter. Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb of Jesus early in the morning and found the tomb empty.
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
John 20:11-17

There are many people Christ could have chosen to appear to first. He could have appeared to the leaders of the government or the synagogue. (Honestly, that would have been awesome. Talk about taunting them with the whole "you killed me but I came back to life" thing. But obviously, Jesus is way more humble than that and not prone to gloating.) He could have appeared to the apostles. Instead, He chose to appear to Mary Magdalene.
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Mark 16:9
Society at that time was heavily patriarchal, so it is definitely worth noting that Christ chose a woman to be the first person to see Him after His resurrection. I also find it interesting that Mark notes that Christ had cast seven devils out of Mary. The number seven is often used in the Bible to indicate totality or completeness. Mary had been seriously afflicted (either by demonic possession as the text indicates, or perhaps by mental illness, since people in ancient times often attributed mental illness to possession), and Christ healed her. Another interesting point, which I only noticed a few days ago, is that Christ appeared to Mary even before he went to see God the Father.

The first living being to witness the resurrection was not a king or a priest. The first living being to witness the resurrection was a humble woman who had been healed by Christ and who sought Him out early in the morning while others were presumably asleep.

Monday, April 25, 2011

God of the Oppressed, Part 1

I had planned on getting this post up on Saturday, with part 2 up on Sunday for Easter, but it's been a busy weekend with family stuff and church stuff, so I'm late.

There are two big concepts in scripture that we focus on at church. The Abrahamic covenant and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I would like to focus on two scriptural stories that discuss these concepts and what we can learn about the nature of God from these stories. The first is the story of Hagar in the desert, and the second is the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus.

God made the following covenant with Abraham:
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Genesis 17:6-7
At church, the common interpretation of this promise is fulfilled through Isaac and then through Jacob and his sons, and then to all of us as followers of Christ who have been adopted into the house of Israel. I don't disagree with this interpretation; it's beautifully universal in that anyone who accepts the gospel becomes a partaker of this covenant.

However, I think there is more to be learned. Later in the story, after the birth of Isaac, Abraham casts Hagar and Ishmael into the desert. The desert is a harsh place, and they eventually ran out of water. Ishmael was near death, and Hagar prayed. The following occurred:
The angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
Genesis 21:17-19

There are several things that stand out to me in this passage. This is the same covenant promised to Abraham. There is no Biblical record of Hagar having any other children, so a promise that her only son would be made a great nation is the same as a promise that she would be made a great nation.

Hagar didn't have an easy life. She was Sarah's slave. When Sarah couldn't conceive, Hagar was "given" to Abraham in order to bear his child. (Hagar does not appear to be consulted on this decision, besides, if she wasn't free, she couldn't really give meaningful consent anyway.) Then when she got pregnant, Sarah became jealous and was rather unkind. After Sarah was able to give birth to Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael were sent into the desert at Sarah's insistence.

The angel appeared in response to Hagar's earnest prayers and called her by name. Although everyone else abandoned her, God did not. God remembered her and spared her life and the life of her son. From this story, we can learn an important lesson. God does not concern Himself with rank or power or privilege. He covenants with people of any social standing and he reaches out to save those who have been oppressed.

Tomorrow I'll post part 2, the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus (in a rather belated Easter message).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A House of Prayer

There is a room on campus in the student center that is set aside for prayer and meditation. Upon walking in, there is a sign instructing visitors to remove their shoes. There are holy books from various faith traditions that people can read. There is a fountain that creates a peaceful ambient sound, the lights are dim, and there are places to sit. I usually prefer to sit on a cushion on the floor, but there are also benches and chairs.

I visit the room when I have a need to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of law school and re-center myself. Yesterday I had some heavy things weighing on my mind, so I went there to pray.

When I entered the room, it was empty. Every time I've gone there, I've been alone. I have often wondered whether anyone else took advantage of the space. (There is a guest book near the door, and many people have written in it, so obviously others use it, just not at the same time I do.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thoughts on General Conference - Updated

This past weekend was General Conference. (If you missed it, you can watch it here.) I generally enjoy conference, and this one was particularly good, for the most part. So, I'll start with the one thing that bugged me, and then I'll go into a much lengthier summary of what I did like.

One thing I realized is that church leaders really have no idea what the lived experience of the single member is. Several talks chastised single members for putting off marriage, basically saying that we're being selfish and worldly for being single. I would invite them to spend some time talking to and listening to those of us out here in the mission field, where Latter-day Saints are a minority. There are only so many other church members around, so it's not like there are tons of options. It's not like in Provo, where if you aren't compatible with the people in your ward or stake, you can just go down the street and meet thousands more. Out here, if I'm not compatible with the few single LDS men in my area, I'm left with the choice of staying single or dating outside the church. It's not a matter of priorities, it's a matter of population. [Update: ks has a post at Beginnings New about the marriage talks at General Conference. She asks how we can teach the youth of the church the importance of marriage.]

As a nice transition, I really appreciated Elder Holland's remarks. I'm not normally a big fan of his talks; he's usually a bit too fire and brimstone for my tastes. However, I liked what he had to say yesterday. He said that he knows that not everyone is avoiding marriage. I'm sure most people will interpret that as an apology to the married people listening that they had to hear the single people get chastised. However, I interpreted that to mean that he knows there are plenty of people who are single and in good standing with God, and that the remarks of the prior speakers were not directed to people like me.

There was a lot more Jesus at this conference than there has been in the past. I'm quite pleased with that. Elder Grow's talk was particularly great in that regard. He talked about the cleansing power of grace, and he shared a poignant story of his brother's return to the fold. I also liked Elder Perry's talk and Elder Richards's talk. Elder Richards made the excellent point that not all of our suffering is our fault, and that Christ can heal us from the sins of others as well as forgive our own sins.

I also noticed a theme of caring for the poor and needy. President Eyring, Bishop Burton, and Sister Allred all spoke on this topic. Two things stood out to me. Bishop Burton said that caring for the poor and needy is more important than missionary work and temple work. Sister Allred said that caring for the poor and needy is pure religion. (Although she didn't quote the scripture, that comes from James 1:27.)

I've been thinking a lot more lately about prophets. During the sustaining of the church officers, I had a realization. When we raise our right hand and declare before God that we believe that the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers, and revelators, that's a big deal.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Blogging Queue

This post marks three days in a row of blogging. I'm on a roll!

I get ideas way faster than I can write them, and then I get to a point where they're bursting to get out and I feel compelled to write. I'm feeling like that this week. Unfortunately, I have way more stuff on my mind than time to write, so I have to prioritize.

I've started several blog posts but not finished them, and I have ideas for several more that I haven't started. I'm open to your thoughts on what you would like to read.

Here's what I've started but not finished:
* Why are there so many lawyers in the Bloggernacle?
I probably won't finish this one as a blog post because I have other plans for it. This one might end up as a law review article.
* God's nature vs. God's will
This one stemmed from a question in class earlier in the semester, and I've been turning it over in my brain since then.
* The Ten Commandments, Part 4
I'm about halfway through this one. I plan to finish the whole series at some point.
* Fellowcitizens with the saints
Ephesians 2:19 is a neverending source of bloggable material for me. This one also stemmed from a question in class earlier in the semester.

Here's what I'm thinking about but haven't started:
* The Euthyphro Dilemma
Is what is good commanded by God because it is good, or is it good because it is commanded by God?
* A response to Julie M. Smith's post "Authority on Her Head"
Julie's post is a Bloggernacle classic, and I would love to respond to it. (I'm mostly, but not completely, in agreement.)
* I don't believe in Heavenly Mother
The title sums up the topic. Don't take away my feminist card!
* Why do we need prophets?
What's the point of having a prophet if we can receive personal revelation?
* What does women's exclusion from the priesthood mean?
I have lots of contradictory answers to this question.
* The gifts of the Spirit.
How do they manifest themselves today?

I'm also thinking of starting a Q and A series. Sometimes people ask me questions that might make good blog posts.

What do you want to read about?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Restoration of the Gospel

One of the questions in the temple recommend interview is "Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the Gospel in the latter days?" The typical interpretation that most people have of this question is "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" However, I think the question is much more expansive than that.

I think the restoration is a process, not an event. The Ninth Article of Faith states "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." Not just a few little details - many great and important things!

What might those things be? The Articles of Faith were published in 1842. Since that time, seven sections and two official declarations have been added to the Doctrine and Covenants. The two that stand out to me as "great and important things" are D&C 138 (proxy temple work) and Official Declaration 2 (expanding the priesthood without regard to race).

I'm excited to see what other things are in store. There's one I'm definitely looking forward to.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joel 2:28, emphasis added
In the Bible, there are female prophets. Specifically mentioned prophets are: Miriam,1 Deborah,2 Huldah,3 Anna,4 the four daughters of Philip,5 and the wife of Isaiah.6 I think a careful reading of scriptural text would add Eve7 and Hagar8 to that list as well.

Where are our female prophets? Since I believe in the restoration of the gospel, and since I believe that God will reveal many great and important things pertaining to His kingdom, and since I believe that in the last days our daughters shall prophesy, I anxiously await the coming of female prophets.

1. Exodus 15:20, Micah 6:4
2. Judges 4:4
3. 2 Chronicles 34:22
4. Luke 2:36
5. Acts 21:8-9
6. Isaiah 8:3
7. Although there isn't anything in the account in Genesis to support this, there is some evidence in the Pearl of Great Price. See Moses 5:11. However, the best support for Eve being a prophet is in the temple ceremony. A close observation will show that she gave the first prophecy, even before Adam did.
8. See Genesis 21:17-18

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I Am a Mormon Feminist

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.
1 Peter 3:15
I blew it today. I was given a perfect opportunity to explain how I can be both LDS and feminist, and because I was caught off-guard, I totally messed it up.

I'm taking a class this semester in Islamic Law. I really enjoy the class, and I've found it useful in providing me with interpretive models to deal with some of my own issues. Today was definitely one of those days. The topic was feminism. At one point, the professor asked whether people should use religious arguments to advance feminist causes. I said yes and alluded to my participation in the Bloggernacle. I mentioned the tension I feel - that some conservative church members find feminism to be incompatible with church affiliation, and that some secular feminists find religious affiliation to be incompatible with feminism.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Best LDS Female Solo Blogger of 2010

Alison Moore Smith, who blogs at Mormon Momma, held a poll for readers to vote on the best LDS female solo blogger of 2010. Congratulations to Cocoa from Chocolate on My Cranium for winning. I haven't checked out Cocoa's blog, but I'm going to head over and see what she has to say!

And, for the record, I took 23rd place! Thanks to all of my readers who put up with my law-school-induced sporadic blog posting and keep coming back for more!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mormon Studies Conference

I attended the 2011 Mormon Studies Conference at Utah Valley University this past week. The conference was entitled Mormonism and Islam: Commonality and Cooperation Between Abrahamic Faiths. I enjoyed the conference. I had a chance to talk to a lot of interesting people about a lot of interesting things. I have prepared a detailed summary of the talks here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Names of God

For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:13
I've often been fascinated by the various names of God in the scriptures. They're really titles, not names, but they tell us important things about the attributes of God. My personal favorites are Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), Comforter (John 14:26), and Advocate (see e.g. Doctrine and Covenants 48:3). I went looking for a list of all of the names of God in scripture, and I didn't find one. I found a few incomplete lists from the Old Testament, but nothing complete or comprehensive. (I was hoping that Ziff, the Bloggernacle's resident statistician, had done something, but the closest he got was an analysis of which titles for Jesus Christ were most commonly used in General Conference talks.)

So, since I have a tendency to start giant projects, I'm going to make a list of all the names of God in the scriptures. There's an element of subjectivity in this endeavor, especially in the allegorical passages, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. It's a long-term project, but I'm hoping to finish by the end of the year. (I just started today. I'm in Genesis 6.)

Here's my methodology:
  • I'm going to list each name once, with a notation of the first verse in which it appears. At some point, I would like to do a search to find out how often each name appears, but the search function on the new scripture site at isn't all that reliable right now. If it improves, I'll run the searches.
  • I'm going to make the list from the LDS standard works in English. This means that I'll be using the King James Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (including the Official Declarations), and the Pearl of Great Price. I will not be using the JST, and I will not include any non-canonized documents such as the family proclamation, etc.
  • My list will not differentiate between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since they constitute one God (see e.g., Doctrine and Covenants 20:28, 2 Nephi 31:21), there is no need for distinction. (i.e. Jesus Christ is a name of God, Holy Ghost is a name of God, etc.)
If anyone has ideas on how to speed this along (like, for example, a link to a reliable list from the Bible so that I can move on to the uniquely LDS scriptures), I would appreciate it. I'm not too worried about computers causing the same result as in Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi short story The Nine Billion Names of God.

Once I'm done, I'll blog it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As Far As It Is Translated Correctly

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly
8th Article of Faith
As a teenager, I got the impression at church that the Bible was inferior to other works of scripture. I don't recall anyone saying it outright, but I definitely picked up on that subtext. This bothered me. I have always felt the Spirit while reading the Bible, and I developed a testimony of its truth and divinity long before I joined the church.

Some people consider the phrase "as far as it is translated correctly" to be a limiting phrase, i.e. that the Bible is substandard. I see it, however, as an expanding phrase. We use the King James translation at church. I like the language in the KJV. It's beautiful in a way that other translations sometimes are not. However, other translations can offer greater clarity.

I've done translation of non-religious writing, and in the process, I realized that there is often more than one right way to render a phrase in another language. In that instance, each one is a correct translation and it comes down to an editorial decision of the translator. It works that way with the Bible, too.

Take, for example, 1 John 4:8:

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." -King James Version
"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." -New King James Version
"The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." -New American Standard Bible
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." -New International Version

They're all saying the same thing with slightly different words. So, a proper reading of the 8th Article of Faith would not say "The Bible is less the word of God than the other standard works." A proper reading would say "The KJV is the word of God, the NKJV is the word of God, the NASB is the word of God, the NIV is the word of God, the Bible in another language is the word of God, etc."

By Common Consent has a post about the use of the KJV at church.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Parable of the Gazelle

I'm still here! I have lots of thoughts that I would love to get down on paper (well, pixels, anyway), but I've been swamped. Hopefully this weekend I'll have time to say stuff.

An interesting thing happened on Tuesday. One of my friends posted a parable on her Facebook page that I had never heard before. I filed it away in my brain as something interesting and worth thinking about. Then I rushed off to work for a big meeting. At the meeting, the presenter began his lecture with the exact same story. Message received!

Here's the story:
In Africa, a gazelle wakes up in the morning knowing that in order to avoid being eaten, it must outrun the fastest lion. A lion wakes up in the morning knowing that in order to avoid starvation, it must outrun the slowest gazelle. So, it doesn't matter whether you're a gazelle or a lion, when the sun comes up, you had better be running.
I'm not sure if I'm a lion or a gazelle, but I do know that I'm a bit tired of running. Fortunately, God has a promise for the weary:
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31
The first thing that stands out to me is that it's okay to be tired. There's nothing wrong with me for feeling like life is just a bit too overwhelming right now. The next thing that stands out is that by waiting on the Lord (or as it says in other translations, having hope in the Lord), I can be strengthened. I still have to run, but I won't be weary while doing so.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thoughts on Home Teachers

I've had some really positive experiences with the home teaching program. Well, let me rephrase that. I've had some really positive experiences with being on the receiving end of the kind of love that all Christians should have, and some of these experiences were facilitated by the home teaching program.

That said, I haven't had a home teaching visit in over a year, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I go to church every week. (Well, almost every week. Sometimes I'm too sick to go.) I have a temple recommend and a testimony. Scarce home teaching resources could be better used elsewhere.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Ten Commandments - Part 2

This is the second in my Ten Commandments series. Part 1 can be found here. Today I'm taking on the third commandment.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.
Exodus 20:7
The common interpretation of this commandment is to avoid using the name of God as a curse word. While this is definitely part of it, I think the commandment is more expansive than that.

There are people who do terrible things in the name of God. Using God's name this way is surely taking it in vain. On a more personal level, in the waters of baptism and each week when we take the Sacrament, we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. What are we doing with His name?

Another personal way I implement this commandment is in my decision to take affirmations instead of oaths. An oath is the typical "I solemnly swear that ... so help me God." An affirmation is "I solemnly affirm that ..." Oaths and affirmations have the same legal effect. I'm a notary, so I had to take an affirmation to uphold the Constitution, and when I become a lawyer, I will have to take another one.

My reasoning for this comes from the Sermon on the Mount.
Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.'
But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil.
Matthew 5:33-37 (English Standard Version)
Although the text doesn't explicitly connect this command to refrain from taking oaths to the command to refrain from taking the name of God in vain, I see them as related. It seems to me that taking an oath would be an improper use of the name of God.

This is supported in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ.
Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips—
For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority.
Doctrine and Covenants 63:60-62
While a notary, judge, or other government official has the secular authority to bind people to obligations, s/he does not have the spiritual authority to use the name of God in that situation. This is contrasted with the ordinances of the gospel, which are done in the name of Jesus Christ (or in the case of baptism, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) by someone who holds the priesthood, i.e. the authority to act in God's name.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What You're Searching For

I've recently discovered the statistics feature in Blogger, and I'm fascinated with the interesting ways people find my blog. Usually people click on a link from some other blog that I've commented on or that links to me. Sometimes, however, people use search terms to find me.

This past week, people have used the following search terms to find The Posts of My House:

dating ethics lds - I'm assuming this person found my post Ethics and Dating in the LDS Context.
favorite old testament scripture - I'm assuming this person found my post My Favorite Scriptures.
francincense - That probably led to Gold, Francincense, and Myrrh.
god qualifies the called - I conveniently have a post with that very title.
no more strangers - I also have a post with that title.
paper sacrament cups and trays - This person probably found Paper or Plastic?
scriptures favorites - Most likely another hit for My Favorite Scriptures.
cdaph or unapei or fmh or cncph - I have no idea where this search string would have landed. I hope you found what you needed!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Calling in Life

In a recent comment, CJ asked me why I want to be a professor. Here's my (rather lengthy) response.

As a teenager, I envied people who knew what their calling in life was. I didn't know mine. My father is an engineer, my grandfather is an engineering professor, and I showed early aptitude in math and science. Naturally, everyone assumed that I would become an engineer as well. My parents never pressured me in that direction, but my extended family and teachers at school did. There was just one problem with this: I hate math!

I joined the debate team in high school and I loved it. I also joined the mock trial team and I loved that, too. I decided to major in political science and then go to law school. I figured I would be a litigator. I thought it would be fun, but I still didn't feel any sense of a calling.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Are you considering law school?

Kevin Barney at By Common Consent wrote a post entitled All About Law School. He discussed his experiences in law school and invited the commenters to do the same. As regular readers of my blog know, I've had a rather difficult and atypical law school experience. That has colored my response to the questions asked. I've reproduced my comment below.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Ten Commandments - Part 1

I've decided to do a series of posts on the Ten Commandments and what they mean today. When deciding to write these posts, I was confronted with a few challenges. First, what would I have to say on the topic that's new? I mean, these words have been around for a long time. The second challenge is that there are several versions of these commandments. Do I take the list in Exodus, the list in Deuteronomy, the explanation and expansion in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, etc.

I've decided to take the lists in both Exodus and Deuteronomy to illustrate the similarities and differences between them. I'll use other verses as appropriate to explain and expand upon them. I'll be sticking with the King James translation unless otherwise specified. Although it's not always the most clear of translations, it's the one I'm the most familiar with, and I love the beauty of the language.

With that said, on to part 1. I'll be taking the first two commandments (1. No other gods, and 2. No graven images) together in this post because they're conceptually related. It's hard to mark where one ends and the other begins. (In fact, a quick glance at Wikipedia shows that Jews, Catholics, and Lutherans view these as one commandment, not two.) For this segment, there is no meaningful difference between Exodus and Deuteronomy, so I'll just use the text of Exodus.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Come, Let Us Anew!

I had intended to write a new year's post on Saturday, but I've had a bit of a flare-up with my adrenal problems, and I wasn't able to muster the energy to write. I'm feeling much better today, so here it is.

I love the start of a new year. It's a new beginning and a chance to start fresh. 2010 was a really rough year for me. I started out with roommate drama that took up the first three months of the year. Getting out of that situation wiped out my savings so I had to work extra hours while juggling school. I started to get sick in May, and in July I was diagnosed with adrenal problems. The diagnosis came with a stern admonition to avoid stress. The very next day, the company I work for got acquired. I managed to keep my job, but stuff got crazy at work. Then I had the most insanely intense and busy semester of my entire education, all while working and doing an internship. I finished up my internship on New Year's Eve. So much for avoiding stress!