Firstly, there is a difference between a temple and a regular meeting house. In a meeting house we meet weekly for worship and to take the sacrament. Temples are set aside for special ordinances that are not open for public viewing.
Mormons do not generally discuss temple worship among non-Mormons. Even among ourselves, there are aspects of temple worship we do not discuss outside the temple. At most they are referred to indirectly. Continue reading →
This was a tough post to write. Not only because it is such a sensitive subject, but also because it is so personal to me. The reasons are complex and I won’t go into much detail, but by doing this I know I am exposing myself to a level of scrutiny I’m not entirely comfortable with. And I am fully aware that people who know me and read this post will see me differently–something I don’t particularly like. But I feel that this post will give my readers some insight into what severe depression is like. Especially for people who have never suffered from it.
I was in graduate school when I finally got treatment for my condition. By that time it had gotten so bad that I really had no choice. It was either get treatment or I would eventually kill myself. I ended up doing two semesters of one-on-one counseling and over the summer I did group therapy. I found the treatment to be helpful and worthwhile. It didn’t change my life in any dramatic way–at least not right away. But it was worthwhile and it helped me deal with some things that needed dealing with.
I remember one of the therapy group participants saying that no matter how bad things got he would never seriously consider killing himself. And I suppose that’s how it is for most people. It’s difficult to understand unless you’ve been there. And I suspect that for people who have not been there this could be a tough post to read. Continue reading →
[After a long hiatus I’m back. I’ve just been busy with life: finished my dissertation, graduated, got a job, got married, bought a house. I’m planning on being more active in my blogging for the near future. I have lots of interesting ideas. Hope you like them.]
My interest in educational statistics originates from an article written by Stanley Kurtz published in the Weekly Standard titled “Polygamy Versus Democracy: you can’t have both” (June 2006). In it he draws parallels between the United States Government’s struggle to stamp out Mormon polygamy and the current war on terror. “In effect, the fight against polygamy was a slow, frustrating, expensive, ultimately successful campaign to democratize Utah. (The parallels to the war on terror are eerie)” (parenthesis original). Writing further that “the Mormons renounced polygamy and set themselves on the path to democracy.” He also asserted that “Religious leaders schooled their families privately, while most of the territory’s children remained illiterate.” (See Polygamy versus Democracy for data on why his assertions are totally false.) There was also an article written by Damon Linker in The New Republic, “The Big Test” (Jan 15, 2007) where Linker asserted that Mormonism is politically perilous. (My response is here.)
Anyway, my motivation stems from those articles.
So what does school attendance in Utah look like? Overall, very normal.
Because very little money for public schools came from taxes Utah’s educators were under constant stress to meet the educational demands of the territory. Teachers pay came primarily from pro-rated tuition fees. Few schools in the territory were completely tax supported and the tax that was levied was primarily intended for construction and maintenance of school buildings. Continue reading →
For eduction statistics, many statistics of interest are ratios of the school age population. However, it wasn’t until 1890 that the Reports to the Commissioner of Education (COE reports) reported the 5 to 18 population for each state and territory. In prior reports the school-age population was enumerated according to the legal school age for each state or territory. It could be 4 to 16, 5 to 21, 6 to 16, etc. Also, most of the age ranges are not inclusive, so 5 to 18 is really ages 5 up to but not including 18. So when I say, for example, that the legal school age is 5 to 17 what I mean is that the legal school age is 5 through 16. Also, the legal school age could change. For example, in 1875 Alabama’s legal school age was 5 to 21. In 1877 it was 7 to 21. Continue reading →
Yes, I’m back after a long hiatus. I finally finished my Ph.D. (physics), so I hope I’ll be able to start blogging on a semi-regular basis. For the next few months I’ll be posting on education in 19th century Utah. Actually from 1870 to 1900. The data for this and upcoming posts came from the annual Report of the Commissioner of Education (abbr. COE). I’ve spent over a year collecting data and I’ve developed a method to “normalize” the data so that state by state comparisons are on a more similar scale. Owing to the fact that from state to state the legal school age differed, to make comparisons I needed to estimate the number of school age children between 5 and 18 for each state. For my age correction method see Age Corrections for Education Data for discussion and methodology.
Also, the end notes have a lot of information so you might want to check those out too. Continue reading →
In an earlier post (Faith and Charity) I worked out a model for attaining faith which is: belief, hope, faith. First we believe, or desire to believe, or have a particle of faith. We then act on our belief. Then, after investing ourselves in that belief we hope our efforts and beliefs will be rewarded. When the Holy Ghost affirms our hopes and beliefs we attain faith.
Faith is the assurance that comes from a witness of the Holy Ghost. Once we have attained faith, its assurance strengthens our hope and reinforces our belief. Thus, we cannot attain unto faith without hope, but without faith our beliefs and hope will not endure and grow.
Faith, certainty, and doubt are interesting subjects. Here I attempt to analyze my experiences with faith, certainty, and doubt about the Church and God.
I can honestly say that I have never had a prolonged crisis of faith. I’ve had moments of doubt wherein I wondered if God really existed, or if the Church is what it claims to be. But those moments never lasted long. All I needed was to remember I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Like many people with deep Mormon roots I was raised to believe in the Book of Mormon as scripture and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true, restored Church. Though I never seriously questioned this upbringing I did experience a crisis of sorts, which turned out to be the beginning of my testimony. Continue reading →
I thought my readers might be interested to know why I blog.
Back in January 2007 Damon Linker wrote an article in The New Republic called “The Big Test.” In it he asserted that “Mormonism will remain a theologically unstable, and thus politically perilous, religion” and “To this day, the Mormon church teaches genuine respect for reason only when it operates within the narrow limits set for it by LDS prophecy,” and so forth.
This article really ticked me off so I started a blog called Response to Damon Linker. As the Romney campaign developed I followed what Linker wrote and said about Mormonism, venting my disapproval of his assertions. Whenever I came across something that bothered me I would write a response to it. Continue reading →
Agency is a very important belief in Mormonism. It means generally, that we are free to make morally significant choices. But more than this, it means that God’s eternal plan is requires that we be free to make morally significant choices. This belief relates to the purpose of life and where we came from (The Premortal Life).
Before we were born into this mortal life we lived with God the Father. He gave us our agency. A war in heaven was fought over this very issue. Those who supported agency (you and me) were born into a mortal life, and Jesus was appointed to be our savior.