Our home, photo by Ashley Thalman

Have you ever tried reading a plain English version of the biblical Book of Ezekiel to a 10-year-old?


We need a new vision for faith.

Photo by Erlend Ekseth on Unsplash

Sometimes, my kids ask strange questions that I don’t have the answers to:


What would you add?

Photo by Pontus Wellgraf on Unsplash

More than 80 years ago, the poet T.S. Eliot wrote these lines, destined to become a maxim:


God is love. We should believe it.

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever?”
— Mormon 9:9

1.

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.


Some of my ancestors: William Ogden, Sr. and family + Charles Layton and family (including Charles’s mother, Bathsheba)

A Meditation on Evolution and Purpose

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.


Trump and University of Utah students / Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

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.


Photo credit: George Frey / Getty

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.


Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

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.”


On the left, a depiction of Jesus that Latter-day Saints are familiar with (photo by Kim F, Creative Commons). On the right, a painting of a bearded man from around time and place of Jesus.

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…


Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

Why my recent (relatively meager) $517 medical bill worries me

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.

Jon Ogden

Building UpliftKids.org, a way to create spiritual experiences at home when traditional approaches feel too small.

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