Have you ever tried reading a plain English version of the biblical Book of Ezekiel to a 10-year-old?
I have, and it’s weird. On a whim one Sunday morning, I pulled it out to read to my son, recounting how Ezekiel finds a brick, draws a picture of Jerusalem on it, and lays on his right side for 390 days — only to then lay on his left side for 40 days while intermittently yelling at the brick and eating bread baked on human feces.
What’s the lesson there for a 10-year-old? …
Sometimes, my kids ask strange questions that I don’t have the answers to:
How do stalactites form? How many stars are in our galaxy? What’s the best-selling videogame of all time?
The answers aren’t in my head. But they are easy to find online. So I show my kids how to tell valid sources from non-valid sources and how to vet what they encounter. Little by little, they’re learning how to learn.
They’re also encountering a global world online. The kid-friendly news sources they read for school tell stories not just of their own nation but also of nations around…
More than 80 years ago, the poet T.S. Eliot wrote these lines, destined to become a maxim:
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
They’re questions that are more urgent than ever, as today’s digital landscape often feels further from wisdom — like we’re struggling just to find the information we have lost in mis-information. As a result, we risk losing not only information, but also knowledge, and, worst of all, wisdom. We risk living asleep.
Wise books wake us up.
Here are eleven worth reading, in no particular…
“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever?”
— Mormon 9:9
“God is love.”
— 1 John 4:16
One of my more unnerving moments in an LDS Sunday School meeting happened during a lesson on Noah’s ark. Throughout the lesson, I’d been reflecting on possible redeeming qualities of the text — what it said about the ancient cultures it sprung from, human nature, etc.
But comment after comment focused on vengeance. “It’s a sign,” these comments went, “that we’d better heed latter-day warnings because God will destroy those who don’t listen.”
When I suggested…
For most my life, I’ve thought of my heritage as coming from a single tradition: Mormonism. That’s my people, who I am—part of a pioneer story.
It’s like this: Six generations ago, my ancestor William Ogden joined the LDS Church in Lancashire, England and immigrated to Richfield, Utah. On my Layton side, Samuel Leighton joined the LDS Church seven generations ago in Bedfordshire, England and then immigrated to Kaysville, Utah, where his grandson Charles became a polygamist. (I descended from Elizabeth Bowler, his first wife.)
But what about my line before all this?
As far as I can find, my…
Two weeks ago, I wrote a letter to LDS Trump supporters that got far more attention than I expected. The response was almost uniformly positive, but I also received several messages I feel are worth addressing.
Why? Because I’m haunted by the words of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer. “Trump will never leave office peacefully,” he says. “The types of scandals that have surfaced in recent months will only continue to emerge with greater and greater levels of treachery and deceit. … I’m certain that Trump knows he will face prison time if he leaves office.”
Growing up in Utah County during the nineties, I couldn’t hear the end of Bill Clinton’s sex scandal in the White House. It was one of the first stories in my political awareness, and the whole thing affected me so deeply that for years if you’d asked me what I thought of the Democrats, I would have told you they were horrible—almost solely because of what Clinton did. It seemed to me that my entire community agreed, and I understood that a sex scandal like Clinton’s was a deal breaker for Latter-day Saints.
Then along came Trump, a man who…
Recently, a friend messaged me. “You used to be a moderate free thinker,” he wrote, “but somehow the left got you. Retrace your steps and let me know what it was.” I’ve heard similar things from other people, including a loved one who wrote to me saying, “I see the media is convincing you.”
These sentiments weren’t completely unexpected given the things I’ve written lately, so I thought I would take my friend’s invitation and retrace my steps.
Has the left “got me”?
Here’s my story.
Until my mid to late 20s, I was a constant and ardent conservative. I…
When I grew up, like many LDS kids my age, I frequently sang a primary song about Jesus:
I’m trying to be like Jesus;
I’m following in his ways.
I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,
“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”
It’s a beautiful…
At 9pm on New Year’s Eve last year, our 4-year-old fell and split his head open right beneath his eyebrow. The split was just barely big enough to require medical attention, so we drove to an urgent care — the only one still open at 9pm on New Year’s Eve — and got it glued shut by a doctor. It took the doctor less than 10 minutes, and we were on our way.
This week, almost 4 months later, we got a bill for $517. Since the cut was glued shut a few hours shy of 2020 and since we…