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The Examined Life

  • Why I Support Discrimination

    Mormon discrimination

    As a staunch and “devout” Latter-day Saint (Mormon), I firmly and completely support the individual right of personal and public association (and the negative right of disassociation) and of contract. Politically, it was the principle of the natural right of association, disassociation, and contract that even made the Declaration of Independence a rational possibility. England didn’t feel the Colonists had the right to disassociate politically, publicly, or individually, but the colonists thought

  • A Closer Look at Pro/Anti Vaccine Arguments

    A Closer Look at Pro and Anti Vaccine Arguments

    What if I am not anti-vaccine? What if I am not pro-vaccine? How do I make sense of the arguments out there? What if I am pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine? What would I gain by understanding the issues the other side presents beyond the talking points?

    When I wrote a previous article on risk, vaccines, and the law, the main objective was to outline the current statistics of disease to detail the crude risks so that I could use that information in a discussion about the topics surrounding risk — including the illegality of

  • Risk: Vaccines and the Law


    Risk – A Definition

    Risk is the possibility that something bad or unpleasant will happen. It is measured as a matter of statistics, given in averages and probabilities. Life is inherently risky, and requires decision-making based on risk assessment. Most of this occurs subconsciously, or more accurately, without much effort and based on precedence.

  • On Maintaining and Losing Our Humanity: A Latter-day Saint Manifesto

    humanity 2This article is posted on
    In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi counseled his son Jacob that “men are that they might have joy” (2 Ne 2:25). In other words, men exist that they may have joy. Some 300 years later and around the globe in Greece, Aristotle would later argue that the most basic motivation for human action is eudaimonia (commonly translated as “happiness” or “human flourishing”). For Aristotle, as also it seems with the prophet Lehi, eudaimonia constituted a human being’s final cause (one of four “causes” that defines what a thing is as opposed to another thing: the purpose for an object’s existence). This means that

  • A Lesson in Reading Scripture

    As I studied and took the class necessary to becJesus Christome a full-time Seminary instructor for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last year (a full-time religious education teaching position for high school aged students), we were instructed, among many things, on how to approach the scriptural text. When approaching and teaching the text, there were four levels of analysis/understanding that were presented

  • The Case Against Wheat?

    wheatWheat, the staff of life, has been used by nearly every major civilization since the dawn of time, or at least the last 9000 years. This isn’t necessarily a good indicator that something is good for you, but it certainly does show that we’ve evolved to live with and consume wheat—and other grains, for that matter. However, recently we have seen a whole slew of negative press about wheat.

  • Invictus: Two Latter-day Responses

    Invictus (“Unconquerable” or “Invincible”Invictus), by William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

  • Dorner and his “Manifesto”

    The Guardian, published Osama Bin Laden’s “Open Letter to America” that expressed bin Laden’s reason and purpose for the September 2001 attacks on the New York City Trade Center towers. No one read it. Why? There were several justifications for avoiding it, but the general argument boiled down to something like this: “Why should I believe the words of a mass-murderer who hates America?”

    Interestingly enough, bin Laden’s words read like something out of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, and, had the letter not been directed against America, Americans might have accepted it as a masterful treatise of divinely inspired natural law, natural rights, and natural justice. However, Americans didn’t care. They still don’t care. All that really matters to Americans is that Osama is dead, and that such “justified retaliation” proves American greatness.

  • The BSA, the LDS Church, and Homosexuality


    The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may soon welcome openly homosexual youths and leaders into its organization (1)(2)(3). The news has shaken many people in the Scouting organization and also in the Latter-day Saint community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the BSA’s largest contributors, as each of the LDS Church wards in the United States sponsors its own BSA troop for its Young Men organization.

    The recent news of the BSA’s possible admittance of openly homosexual youths and leaders has caused some questioning concerning the LDS Church’s possible stance on the BSA. Will the Church pull away from the BSA? Will it continue its relationship? Will it amend its relationship with the BSA?

  • Would You have Followed?

    In my previous ward I was called to teach the Valiant Boys in Primary (9-12 year olds). During my short time teaching them (almost a year), we studied and discussed topics in the Book of Mormon. We spent far more time on Lehi’s exodus from Jerusalem than what the lesson manual allotted, but I was consistently impressed at the enriching conversation that we were having with that young group of boys on the subject. So long as there was interest, we continued to talk about it.

    On one Sunday I asked the boys whether they would follow their fathers into the wilderness. They were curiously surprised at the questions that I followed up with.