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Gillette Reaction Series

In my last post I promised to publish a series of response essays to an article on The Daily Wire that reacted to the Gillette short film. I want to let you know that this project will be delayed. Today and yesterday I have been watching Dan Vogel's interview series on Mormon Stories and that has changed my immediate interest to researching Joseph Smith's methods in producing The Book of Mormon. So that will be the focus of this blog for a bit.
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Men React to a Gillette Ad with Not So Quiet Desperation

Men React to a Gillette Ad with Not So Quiet Desperation
While cultures are far from unanimous about the characteristics – and number – of sexes and genders, there is a surprising level of correlation across societies about the precarious nature of manhood. Ethnographers from diverse backgrounds have surveyed thousands of cultures, and in most, we have found the cultural phenomenon of the “test of manhood." (Nanda and Warms 2011, 225) It is a near-universal struggle for anyone who is claiming manhood in any society, to justify that claim.
While the academy hotly disputes the anthropological reasons for this around the globe, I think the origins in western culture have a great deal to do with power politics. Men inherit an unearned privilege of power in our culture, which means that by claiming manhood, a person is justifiably subject to some scrutiny as to their worthiness of the claim. As philosopher Hannah Arendt notices, “Power is never the  property of an individual; it belo…

Standing With Sarah

Last night I listened to the final episode of Uncover: Escaping NXIVM(Bloch, Goldhar and Elash). It was titillating in the dark way that I tend to prefer my podcasts lately. I expected to be entertained, educated, and inspired. CBC Podcasts have taught me to expect that. I did not expect to be as triggered as I was.
The podcast tells the story of Sarah Edmondson, who recently left a cult called NXIVM (pronounced nɛksiəm/NEKS-ee-əm). Not only did she leave, she blew the whistle on the organization. 
More than NXIVM being an annoying “self-help” mongerer of a pyramid scheme (enough to warrant our distaste) they are a sex cult. What I am about to type-up is incredible, just by reciting what we know about NXIVM I am making extraordinary claims, so please look this up. I have referenced a few sources in my bibliography. This is no joke, and it is no bullshit.
Sarah joined a subgroup of NXIVM called “DOS.” There she was convinced to provide “leverage” to make sure that she did not leave t…

Let Boulders Fall

I lost another loved one. It was my grandpa, on my father's side.



I loved him and I will miss him. I also feel the intensity of the grief felt by my loved ones who knew him better, and loved him more, and miss him more painfully. The end of such a long life has me thinking of what life and death mean.

As I have tried to prepare a draft of this post, I have scrapped several. My thoughts are stuck in awe of how mundane the terms are that I am trying to define.

I have lived this morning. I got up early, brewed coffee, ate breakfast, went to the gym . . .

Somehow in these, in the accretion and secretion of every effort, is the thing I am missing and dwelling on. The being that was my grandpa.

Socrates ate. Alexander slept. Dante killed spiders. Washington sneezed. Jesus wept. Confucius said.

Life is absurd.

Often we resolve that absurdity with purpose, and that is the context in which I feel myself encountering my loved ones. They believe, in fact they would tell you that they know, …

Potter Squad 3

The third installment of Potter Squad. Part 4 coming later this week.

Both Wrong and Bad

Secular and religious students spend a lot of time evaluating the rightness of The Book of Mormon. Believers seek to establish the truth of the empirical claims made in and about the book, which are fundamental to their belief. Nonbelievers seek to disestablish these claims. It is a lot of great, scholarly, fun. But, it seems to me, that more time could be spent evaluating the goodness of The Book of Mormon. Suppose we grant that it is an ancient work, recovered in the nineteenth century, and translated by supernatural means. This would make it right, but the enlightened reader must still grant an even more obvious case against the book: it is not good.


It is not good in a literary sense, to be sure, and we can look into that later, but it is not good in an ethical sense. I could cite its misogyny[1], brutality[2], or injustice[3], but for me, the glaring ethical failing in The Book of Mormon is its racism[4].


Early in the text, we pick up a thread of racism that will span the entir…

The Romance of Realism

Yesterday my wife and I had a very real conversation. We were sitting in our car, watching our kids play in a park, and Dani casually asked me about metaphysics.

The scene must be set a little so that you can see my point here. Dani and I left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about 4 years ago. I left in my mind first, having concluded that the likelihood that a god exists is thin enough to warrant disbelief. I have stayed my mind on that case, and the evidence for it continues to foment in my mind.



Dani has not been so sure. She has always been cautious and rigorous. She does not seek a conclusion. She waits for it.

So, yesterday, we sat and she casually brought up some experiences of which she is aware that seemed to give evidence for a spiritual realm. We talked about intuitions, incredible coincidences, and synchronicities. Spouses sense the death of their loved ones from across the globe. Dani has sensed danger before it arrived, identified lies before the truth c…