is carrying a very nice article
and picture about the new LDS Manhattan Temple.
Update: Two interior pictures of the Manhattan Temple are here.
I graduated from BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School
on Friday (April 23). Law school was a great experience and I am looking forward to taking the Utah Bar Exam
The picture below is for the Commencement Exercises for all of BYU which took place on Thursday, April 22. The law school graduates are the ones closest to the camera. Only about 35-40 of us showed up (out of 160 or so). I suppose many were too busy to attend, but I'm glad I did.
, a former BYU student, has directed a film entitled Napoleon Dynamite
(the trailer is available here
). It's received rave reviews ever since it made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Oh, and another good thing about it: It's not about Mormons. I haven't been particularly thrilled with the glut of Mormon-themed movies that have come out during the last few years. It's good to see a Mormon make a movie about something other than his faith.
Don't get me wrong. I think Hollywood has vastly underestimated the market for movies that explore religion in a reverential, rather than hostile and profane, manner. (I think Mel Gibson's The Passion
has sparked a trend towards films which reverence religious belief.) However, I think Mormons have a broad spectrum of skills and interests, in addition to faith, which can be expressed on film. I hope Jared Hess leads the way in getting other Mormon moviemakers to broaden their horizons a bit.
LIST OF "MORMON" BLOGS
A good friend of mine emailed me the URL for Jordan Fowles'
blog, a BYU grad who is attending law school at the University of Michigan
. Jordan's blog also has a good list of other "Mormon Bloggers," so check it out.
Having the Appearance of Cussing, but Lacking the Power Thereof...
Here's an interesting article
on pseudo cussing. BYU is, not surprisingly, mentioned:
With cable television liberally salting shows with the four-letter word that starts with F and government regulators effectively banning the same word from broadcast airwaves, a new middle ground has opened where euphemistic substitutes for the term flourish. In fact, popular culture in general is taking a shine to the cutesy, sound-alike cousins of the expletive, which are popping up on radio and television, in ads and offices, on playgrounds and at home.
Even toddlers are picking up the lingo. "A woman told me her 2-year-old told her to 'Shut the frickin' door,'" said Timothy Jay, author of "Cursing in America."
Euphemisms such as "flipping," he says, are viable alternatives that traditionally protect listeners from the offensive word and protect speakers from breaking a taboo.
Among Mormon students at Brigham Young University campuses these days, "fetch" is one substitute for the curse word, but not as popular as "flippin', freakin' and freak," says Kay Ushijima, a BYU student preparing a senior thesis on the topic.
Mormons are supposed to avoid even "the very appearance of evil."
So what's the alternative? Aren't there some non-profane, non-vulgar, non-obscene exclamations out there? What about quoting Robin's expletives from the old Batman TV series
("Holy diabolical plot, Batman!")?
I served as an LDS missionary in the Taiwan Taipei Mission
, where a favorite exclamation was the Chinese phrase "Zao gao!"
(literally, "messy cake"). It seemed innocuous enough.
On a final note, the website of the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas seems to take the (messy) cake when it comes to avoiding cussing. They even find "Holy cow!"
Holiness is an attribute, a perfection of God in which we view God separated from all sin (morally and spiritually). A cow has no soul, it is a-moral and is without a I spirit. These kind of words have a way of making light of God's character. There also is nothing Holy about smoke. It too, is a euphemistic way of using a word with a wrong intent to make it seem acceptable, and with lightness (in vain).
(Cows don't have souls? Ah, never mind, that's a discussion for another day.)
FORMER LDS BISHOP CHARGED WITH CHILD MOLESTATION
The Salt Lake Tribune
, Deseret News
the Provo Daily Herald
are all reporting the arrest of 57-year old David James Gomez (pictured) based on 125 counts of sexual abuse for allegedly molesting boys while he was a Mormon bishop a decade ago.
This is a breaking story, so additional details will no doubt be forthcoming.
GENERAL CONFERENCE PROTESTERS
My family and I were on Temple Square during General Conference (the Saturday afternoon session). On my way to pick up my car I snapped a few pictures of the protestors. Their presence was, shall we say, underwhelming. And the hecklers had them outnumbered, anyway, as you can see here:
OJBECTIONS TO MORMON BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (PART II)
Here's another thought about the baptism for the dead issue. In the news item
I mentioned below we find the following (emphasis added):
"We are very hopeful that we will be able to convince the church to stop," Ernest Michel, chairman of the New York-based World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, said Friday. If not, Michel said, his group will consider other options, "possibly legal steps."
What "legal steps" does Mr. Michel have in mind? What cause of action could he cite? How has he (or any other Jew) been damaged?
I suppose they could sue for breach of contract (citing the agreement
the Church signed in 1995). I still think it would be difficult to prove damages.
OJBECTIONS TO MORMON BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD
A recent news item
I've found interesting is the objection from some quarters to the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead (also called "vicarious baptism" or "proxy baptism"):
Researchers say that Mormons have continued to posthumously baptize Jewish Holocaust victims into their faith despite a promise to discontinue the practice.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long collected names from government documents and other records worldwide for posthumous baptisms. Church members stand in to be baptized in the names of the deceased non-Mormons, a ritual the church says is required for them to reach heaven.
In 1995, the Mormon church acceded to demands by Jewish leaders that the denomination stop posthumously baptizing Jews. But Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City researcher, said on Friday that the process still hasn't ended.
This rite, apparently wholly unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
, is a part of temple worship
performed by observant Mormons.
Not everyone is getting worked up about this. Eugene Volokh and Erik Jaffe, both of The Volokh Conspiracy
, don't see anything objectionable out it:
Volokh: If you're Mormon, then presumably you'd want your relatives baptized. If you're not Mormon, then presumably you would think that some Mormon in some temple somewhere going through some ritual while mentioning people's names would be spiritually pointless. It would have no effect on the people, on their afterlives (if you think they have afterlives), on God, or on anything else. So what's the problem?
The Mormons aren't forcing anything on any living person. They're not exhuming anyone's body. They aren't insulting anyone, except insofar as they're suggesting that their religion is the right one, and that people ought to want to convert to it -- and if that itself qualifies as an insult, then it seems to me that people are too easily insulted.
Jaffe: I actually find it somewhat endearing that Mormons are concerned enough about my erstwhile soul to try and protect it in a non-intrusive manner after my death. Other religious groups are not so considerate and instead seek to intimidate the @#%$ out of you or otherwise confront and demean you while you are alive in a supposed effort to save your soul. I have my doubts about the true motives of the hell-and-brimstone types, but the Mormons seem perfectly genuine to me. At worst it is no-harm, no-foul; at best they do me a great service.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is similarly unimpressed
I could not care less if the Mormons baptize me after I'm dead. It won't affect me. I'll always be a Jew – in this life and the next. If this is part of Mormon practice and belief, and they do it in the privacy of their own ritual, and it doesn't affect me in the slightest, why should I care? People's beliefs are their own business. It's how they treat others that is everyone's business. What I care about is how much the Mormons support Israel today, not what they do with Jewish souls in what they regard as the afterlife.
There's a discussion
on this subject at Zion's Lighthouse Message Board that has more links.
More: My comments in the ZLMB
discussion are under the online handle "Smac."
LATE TO THE PARTY
Well, it looks like I'm not the first Mormon lawyer (or, more specifically, "Mormon soon-to-be
lawyer") to get a blog (no surprise there, I guess). Nate Oman, who is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Harvard Law School, has started Tutissma Cassis
. His previous blog A Good Oman
is still available.
Nate also has The Kolob Network
, a website
intended as "a place where scholars and students of Mormon studies can exchange current research." Both sites sound interesting.
Welcome to the BYU Law Blog! This will (hopefully) blossom into a useful resource for past and present BYU law students, faculty members, friends, etc.
My name is Spencer Macdonald. I am a 2004 graduate of J. Reuben Clark Law School
. I work at a small firm in Provo, Utah and work primarily in business litigation. On the home front, I am married and have 3 1/2 children.
This is my first attempt at a blog, so bear with me a bit. The content will be a mix of what I personally find interesting and important: current events, religion, politics, the occasional movie review.
I've been reading blogs for a couple of years now. My favorites include Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit
, Eugene Volokh and his co-conspirators at The Volokh Conspiracy
, James Lileks' The Bleat
, Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish
, Walter Olson's Overlawyered
and Stefan Sharkansky's Oh, That Liberal Media