Ken Jennings in ‘Jeopardy’ with show host?

July 25, 2006
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14028070/ NEW YORK – “Jeopardy!” ace Ken Jennings, who won $2.5 million during his 74-game winning streak, has a few unkind words to say about the show — and dapper host Alex Trebek. “I know, I know, the old folks love him,” Jennings writes in a recent posting, titled “Dear Jeopardy!” on his Web site. “Nobody knows he died in that fiery truck crash a few years back and was immediately replaced with the Trebektron 4000 (I see your engineers still can’t get the mustache right, by the way).”

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An Apology, A Clarification, and a Possible Solution to the “Bloggernacle” Problem

July 25, 2006
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The Apology I’ve felt badly ever since I responded to DMI’s post by writing this and this. Two of the secrets I have learned in life are:

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“fit for the kingdom” – Combination documentary shorts and blog from BYU

July 25, 2006
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I stumbled upon this today: http://fitforthekingdom.byu.edu/index.php via an AML email forward from my Mom. It seems to be a combination of documentary video shorts and a blog about regular, everyday church members. Pretty interesting. From Randy Astle, “If you’ve got eight minutes to look at just one film on the website, I suggest “Leroy Pratt” (aka “Crossings”). Below is an excerpt from the email by Randy Astle of BYU, who apparently is involved in the project. Whaddya think? —————————– BYU film professor Dean Duncan, with other faculty and student participants (primarily Ben Unguren, currently, I believe, doing PhD film work…

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Battles Lines and High-Fiving White Guys

July 23, 2006
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I’ve pondered all morning how to respond to the recent “Mormon blog battle lines” discussion that has arisen here and here. I’ll have more to say about this in August during my Sunstone presentation, but for now I’ll leave it with the following response:

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Questions for Upcoming Podcast: “How to Remain Active in the LDS Church After Becoming Disaffected?”

July 22, 2006
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Over the past year it’s become clear to me that perhaps the biggest productive role my podcast and blog serve on the Internet within Mormonism is in providing people w/ coping mechianisms to remain active, or reactivate themselves, after becoming disaffected w/ the LDS church. For many, this is a really hard thing to deal with. My next podcast is going to address this topic. For those of you who fit the following description, “I want to participate in church….but it’s just so hard now that I’ve been through all this”–please send me in advance the questions or problems that…

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The “Mormon Theology in 6 Minutes” Video, Digg.Com, YouTube.com and the Web 2.0

July 20, 2006
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Because of my interest in Mormon Studies, a work colleague today pointed me to http://www.digg.com, one of the top news sites for the technology industry. The link he pointed me to was this article, where digg readers had highlighted a new anti-Mormon video as interesting or important. Currently, it ranks #1 in the Educational Video section of Digg. So far it’s been watched 5,300 times.

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Bloggernacle Spotlight: For Those Who Wonder (Managing Religious Doubt and Questions)

July 20, 2006
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Bloggernacle Spotlight: For Those Who Wonder (Managing Religious Doubt and Questions)

Today I am very proud to announce another new entry to the bloggernacle: http://www.forthosewhowonder.com. FTWW is based on a book written by D. Jeff Burton by the same name. This book is downloadable for free on Jeff’s new web site. Jeff lives in Salt Lake City, is actively fulfilling a service mission for the church, and sits on the Sunstone board (what a combination, eh?!?!?!). But most importantly, Jeff has dedicated a good portion of his life towards helping LDS folk who stumble upon a crisis of faith figure out a way to STAY IN the church (if it is…

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Bloggernacle Spotlight: KVNU For the People

July 20, 2006
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Last night Dan Wotherspoon and I were invited to speak on a radio show called “For the People” at radio station 610AM (KVNU) here in Logan, UT. The co-hosts are super cool guys (Tom Grover and Ryan Yonk), and you can listen to the full show by clicking here (the program actually begins around the 3:51 time mark). After the show, I helped them set up a new blog and podcast, which can be found here. Please visit their newly formed blog and give them a hearty welcome to the bloggernacle!!! Tom and Ryan also run another local blog here…

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New Poem and Podcast from John & Jana Remy (Holding Back the Night)

July 18, 2006
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I was fortunate this morning to find a new episode of “An Athiest’s Prayer” (by John and Jana Remy) on my iPod for my morning bike ride to work (thanks for the shout out, btw!!!). During the devotional, a poem was read that struck me as quite inspirational. I’ll share it here, but please go listen to the podcast and let the Remys know how cool they are. The Young Galileo Speaks By Ray Bradbury O child, they said, avert your eyes

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034-036: Jim Parkinson and Soldier Slaves

July 14, 2006
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This podcast is a slight divergence from my most recent interviews, but in every way fits the original spirit of Mormon Stories. Within these 3 episodes, we tell the story of Harold Poole–an LDS survivor of one of the most barbaric events in the 20th century–the Bataan Death March. We also discuss in some depth the ethics of law, and the juxtaposition of being LDS and a lawyer. Episode 1: We meet James W. Parkinson–a high profile personal injury lawyer, and a member of the LDS Church. We discuss Jim’s early years in Indio, CA, his early career as a…

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Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason–Salman Rushdie

July 14, 2006
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I exercised yesterday in a state of bewilderment–to hear Salman Rushdie express thoughts and feelings about Islam that could just as easily have been written by me about Mormonism (if I were a better writer, of course). A big thanks to my pal Russ for the recommendation. If you have any time on your hands, please check it out. I promise you will not be disappointed. P.S. Watt Mahoon–did your name come from the Satanic Verses per chance?

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http://theironicpriesthood.wordpress.com/

July 14, 2006
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What a brilliant post. http://theironicpriesthood.wordpress.com/ I pray for more.

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Google Translation

July 13, 2006
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I was digging through my logs, and check out what I found! Holy Moly!!!! John

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The “Literal vs. Symbolic Mormon Testimony” Project

July 12, 2006
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I’ve been thinking a ton lately about literal vs. symbolic Mormon testimonies. I felt strongly that I should create a table which differentiates how I’m feeling today, from what I was taught growing up. I intend this to be an ongoing project…where the comments made below this post get fed back into the post itself. I would love your feedback on many fronts. Specifically, please let me know what I’ve missed, and which of the items in the “symbolic” column you deem as “unacceptable” within the framework of faithful (temple recommend worthy) Mormonism. If you’d like me to reword any…

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The Spirituality of Parenting

July 11, 2006
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Another “must listen” from the Speaking of Faith podcast–entitled “The Spirituality of Parenting“. Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, rabbi of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis, discusses raising your children with faith. To me, the most interesting part starts around the 30:44 minute mark, where she discusses the commonalities between all faith traditions, and the tendency of people to leave their own faith after experiencing imperfections and injustices, and to go seeking for a “less destructive” tradition. Her advice (which I’m unaccustomed to hearing from a religion–especially our own) is to do your best to stick w/ the faith of your parents. To…

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Accepting Nominations for Top Internet Events Within Mormonism for 2005-2006

July 10, 2006
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As a part of my upcoming Sunstone Presentation (The Promise and Peril of the Internet Within Mormonism), I hope to include a list of the Top Mormon Internet Events for 2005-2006. I would welcome any nominations from the bloggernacle at large. Some potential ideas might include…. Bannergate Dan Peterson Visits the Bloggernacle Marie Osmond’s Kids Uncovered on MySpace ldsblogs.org vs. ldselect.org The emergence of Mormon, and anti-Mormon podcasts FAIR Wiki The release of anti-Mormon videos on Google Video and Youtube LDS University Student Use of Facebook and MySpace. Bishops warn against it. Your nominations go here…. Please let me know…

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Some final Thoughts on Mormon/LDS Apologists (a la FAIR/FARMS)

July 9, 2006
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I received an email today from a fellow I’ll call “enochville”, who provided some good clarification with regards to apologists. I would like to share it with you all (thanks so much, enochville!!!), to offer a small bit of closure to the raging post on FAIR/FARMS and LDS Apologetics of last week: —————————————— “In sifting through arguments pro and con for Mormonism, I have found the following distinction useful. In the future as you read positions on this board see if you can identify which arguments are apologetic and which are polemical. First, let’s take a look at the dictionary:…

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Are Mormon Apologetics a Gateway to Ex- or Anti-Mormonism? Or….Why I Support Sunstone

July 4, 2006
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Last week I was counseling a friend who had left the LDS church. As he recounted to me his story, it was interesting to note that apologetics (FAIR and FARMS in particular) were a precursor to his leaving the church–and a strong source for his abiding anger/resentment, and resistance to returning. I probably get at least 2-3 emails a week from folks who have left the church–and I’m surprised at how many of these people not only delved into apologetics before they left–but also look back upon their experience w/ apologetics in almost disgust. Is it possible that the general…

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A History of Doubt

July 2, 2006
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A History of Doubt

Holy Moly (didn’t I just say that?). This episode of “Speaking of Faith” podcast entitled, “The History of Doubt” literally blew my socks off. Please, please, please listen to it, and come back here to discuss in an LDS context (if you so yearn). I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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My (Current) Favorite Podcast–”Speaking of Faith”

July 1, 2006
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Holy freaking moly. I discovered a podcast last week (thanks to Rory) that has knocked my socks off. It’s called “Speaking of Faith“, and for me, has been amazing. Please, please, please subscribe to, and listen to this podcast. For me–it is among the best out there by far.

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Jim Jones & Jonestown — A Lesson on the Risks of Fundamentalism and the Importance of Tolerating Dissent

June 27, 2006
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Jim Jones & Jonestown — A Lesson on the Risks of Fundamentalism and the Importance of Tolerating Dissent

I stumbled upon this RadioWest episode today about a new documentary entitled: Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (you can listen directly, or via podcast subscription). Most of you will likely not remember the Jim Jones / Jonestown tragedy (heck…I was only 9 years old at the time). Here is the summation:

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Ranking of Top Mormon-Themed Web Sites and Blogs – 2006

June 27, 2006
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For a Sunstone Presentation I’m giving in August at the 2006 SLC Sunstone Symposium, I gathered together the rankings of all the prominent Mormon-themed web sites and blogs that I could find. The data comes from http://alexa.org/. The ranking represents world ranking on the Internet. If there are any major web sites or blogs that I have omitted, please advise. Also, I’d love to hear thoughts/analysis on this list from anyone who is interested in sharing.

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Bloggernacle Get Together at Sunstone SLC? (Aug 9th-12th)

June 25, 2006
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I am so excited for Sunstone I could jump up and down singing “Hallelujiah.” The preliminary program is now out (click here to view). Anyone want to meet for breakfast or lunch or something during the conference? Or do a get together after one of the evenings? Let me know. I’d be happy to organize something. I can’t wait to meet some of you!!!!! Also, if you haven’t registered yet, please consider registering. Not only can I promise that you will thoroughly enjoy it…but I can also tell that Sunstone could use your support. I hope to see many of…

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A Consolidated List of “Highlights” So Far on Mormon Stories

June 23, 2006
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For those who’ve joined us recently–I’ve created a consolidated list of the major works I’ve done since starting the Mormon Stories podcast. Check it out, and let me know if I missed anything, and if there’s anything here you didn’t know about.

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Auditioning for Co-Hosts for Conversational Podcast

June 23, 2006
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Have any of you ever listened to any mutli-host podcasts? Some of my favorites are: Pardon the Interruption (Sports) This week in Tech Left, Right, and Center (Politics) I have some secret, big plans in the medium/long-term for the Mormon Stories podcast as it tradionally has been–but I might get energized in the short term if I could find some really smart, witty folks from across the Mormon spectrum who were willing to be co-hosts in more of a conversational style podcast–where people from the left, right, and center discuss Mormon issues. Anyone interested? All you need are: 1) a…

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Cool New Podcast!!!! “An Athiest’s Prayer” — With John and Jana Remy

June 23, 2006
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The Remys are 2 of the coolest people I know (and I haven’t even met them yet). Perhaps that statement is as ironic as the title of their new podcast: “An Athiest’s Prayer.” For my more conservative readers, please don’t be put off by the title. These is spiritual folk (as they say). Don’t confuse spiritual with religious–not always the same. Give them a listen, and let us know what you think!!!!! I’ll do so now as well!!!! John

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Southpark Creators Working on Mormon-Themed Broadway Muscial!!!

June 21, 2006
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Southpark Creators Working on Mormon-Themed Broadway Muscial!!!

Holy Moly!!!! Mormon Play By ‘South Park’ Creators A Reality South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are working on a Broadway musical – about Mormons. The new show – which will be co-created by Avenue Q writer Jeff Marx – is currently being developed by the comic duo but is yet to be given a title. Marx told Bang Showbiz: “Trey and Matt were over with me in London recently while I open Q here and so far we’ve written about four songs but we’ve got loads more ideas. “The show is going to have nothing to do…

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This I Believe: How Do You Believe in a Mystery?

June 20, 2006
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On my way home from work, I heard a really good radio essay on NPR–as part of their “This I Believe” series. It captures, in many ways, my own personal belief in God. I hope you enjoy. How Do You Believe in a Mystery? by Loudon Wainwright III, Singer-songwriter Morning Edition, June 19, 2006 · Here’s a question: How do you believe in a mystery, in something you don’t understand and can’t prove? When we’re children we’re encouraged to believe in some mysterious things that turn out to not necessarily be true at all — things like the Tooth Fairy,…

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My List of “Must Read Books” for Mormon Studies

June 19, 2006
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“Must Read” Books on Mormonism and the LDS Church: Overview: Mormon America: The Power and the Promise (Hardcover), by Richard and Joan Ostling The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-Day Saints, by Leonard J. Arrington (Author), Davis Bitton On the 19th Century Church: Quest for Refuge: The Mormon Flight from American Pluralism, by Marvin S. Hill The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, by D. Michael Quinn On the 20th Century Church: David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, by Gregory Prince The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation, by Armand Mauss The Mormon Hierarchy:…

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When Religion Becomes Evil

June 16, 2006
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Anybody heard of this book? A friend lent it to me today and told me to read it. No connection to Mormonism at all. On the back I found the following “Five Warning Signs of Corruption in Religion.” They are: Absolute Truth Claims Blind Obedience Establishing the “Ideal” Time (no idea what they mean here) The End Justifies Any Means Declaring Holy War Let me be clear….I’m not accusing our faith/church as being evil, or as being more “guilty” on these 5 counts than any other religion today is. Still…I thought it was interesting, and worth noting….if for nothing other…

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Lots and lots of press coverage on the Jeffrey Nielsen Firing at BYU — 2 Options for What the Brethren Were Thinking

June 15, 2006
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Check these out…. USA Today LA Times Seattle PI Inside Higher Ed Pink News.UK KCPW in Utah KVOA in Tucson, AZ Even BYU NewsNet in 2 places: http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/60124 http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/60127 — With a fun/interesting quote….”This has very little to do with academic freedom” And lots of others….. Personally, I believe that the “Brethren” are both smart, and sincere….so my main question is…..which of the following scenarios are more likely? The brethren knew that they would get this type of press over this firing, and WANTED this coverage as sort of a public/PR/political “stake in the ground”, or Was it more of…

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