Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I just found my honeymoon pictures... they were hiding out on my old computer in a file NOT titled honeymoon. And now I'm remembering how awesome summer is.

And how much I really like being tan.
We also just got our wedding video (finally!) which is just plain exciting.

I just finished reading two chapters of John Stuart Mill's "on Liberty" for my media law and ethics class. First off, I would just like to say that I am ridiculously excited about this class. And yes, the reading was dense but how I wish that we still spoke like that today! Expressions like "lovers of liberty" and "dissidents afflicted with the malady of thought" give me shivers.

Mill actually brought up some very interesting points that I found applied quite well to my particular generation of members of the church. He speaks of how we should not be afraid of discussion and dissent because that is the very way by which we find truth. He points out that early christians were profoundly touched by their religion in ways that we rarely are nowadays because they had to defend their beliefs against the rest of the world's opinion, against the majority, risking their very lives for what they believed to be true.

But when it [religion] has come to be an hereditary creed, and to be received passively, not actively—when the mind is no longer compelled, in the same degree as at first, to exercise its vital powers on the questions which its belief presents to it, there is a progressive tendency to forget all of the belief except the formularies, or to give it a dull and torpid assent, as if accepting it on trust dispensed with the necessity of realizing it in consciousness, or testing it by personal experience; until it almost ceases to connect itself at all with the inner life of the human being. Then are seen the cases, so frequent in this age of the world as almost to form the majority, in which the creed remains as it were outside the mind, encrusting and petrifying it against all other influences addressed to the higher parts of our nature; manifesting its power by not suffering any fresh and living conviction to get in, but itself doing nothing for the mind or heart, except standing sentinel over them to keep them vacant.
The maxims and precepts contained in the New Testament […] are considered sacred, and accepted as laws, by all professing Christians. Yet it is scarcely too much to say that not one Christian in a thousand guides or tests his individual conduct by reference to those laws. The standard to which he does refer it, is the custom of his nation, his class, or his religious profession
Whenever conduct is concerned, they look round for Mr. A and B to direct them how far to go in obeying Christ.
It seems like, to a degree, this could apply to "mormon culture" v. "mormon doctrine;" very often we do things without really stopping to think about why we do them; we do them out of imitation rather than based on a principle that we know to be true.
For example, Andrew has recently decided that there is no real doctrinal basis for blessing the food at a meal-- giving thanks for food is based on the principle of gratitude towards God for all that we are given, but so far he hasn't really found any reason for blessing the food, aside from the fact that it's just the way that all parents teach their children to pray. (Personally, I think there is something to be said for learning by observation--I think that there is probably a reason we do it, but we've forgotten that reason. In the meantime, Andrew's meal-time prayers are one line shorter than mine)
Another idea that Mill brings up is that truth will not be destroyed by opposition; we shouldn't be afraid to expose truth to criticism because truth can stand on its own. I don't think that, in the case of LDS scholarship, this means that we should second-guess the prophet every time he makes a statement, but I wonder how this applies to me personally. Perhaps it means that I shouldn't shy away from difficult subjects and controversial issues, because those discussions are what can bring me to greater light and knowledge. Just these two chapters have really gotten me thinking; do I practice religion just because I feel like it's the right thing to do, or because I have chosen a side and want to be committed to it out of integrity? I like to think that I am a practicing LDS member because I believe in Christ, and because I believe that the doctrines of this church are the true principles that will bring me to Him, (which I sincerely do) but now I wonder if I don't also do some of the things I do merely out of habit.
One thing I know for sure: I do not want to fall into the "deep slumber of a decided opinion."


  1. I like this post. It is so true. This generation sometimes seems to lack conviction in the name of "being politically correct" or "tolerant." But I find that they are also just too lazy to do what is required to show/feel true conviction.

  2. I miss you Lydia, it was always fun talking with you during Latin. I have to tell you though Jeff agrees with Andrew on the blessing food topic. He always gives thanks, but never actually blesses the food. Apparently he decided it was not needed on his mission. Silly boys. Anyways, I thought you would like to now that. By the way, I think your hair looks nice, but I understand how crazily un-sexy you feel when you first chop it off. I felt the same way.