I'm a citizen of Lexington, Kentucky, the United States, the world, and the digital sphere. Politically, I care about equality (and changing structures to support it), elections (that is, making them more fair and representative), and electronics (or, rather, their impact on society).

I am a believing agnostic in Community of Christ with a (mostly) cherished past as a (mostly) literalist Mormon.

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📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Apostle of the Poor: The Life and Work of Missionary and Humanitarian Charles D. Neff, by Matthew Bolton

- kudos:

Neff is one of the most influential figures in the recent history of Community of Christ. On my second read of this biography, I’m less comfortable with some of the imperial and colonial aspects of RLDS expansion in the late 1960s, but for all Neff’s complicity in those attitudes, he also worked hard to shed his own (and his church’s) ethnocentrism and exclusivity, and I appreciate that. I’ve joked about this before, but it’s wild that he was a contemporary of Ezra Taft Benson.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: You were promised a jetpack by liars (17 May 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

- kudos:

Compelling essay about vain hopes for the future. link to “Pluralistic: You were promised a jetpack by liars (17 May 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Microsoft’s AI obsession is jeopardizing its climate ambitions'

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Such a depressing article. link to “Microsoft’s AI obsession is jeopardizing its climate ambitions”

faith in heaven vs. faith in hell

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I’ve written a few posts recently trying (somewhat awkwardly) to express an idea that’s been on my mind a lot over the past few years: That I want to respect someone’s right to hold a particular belief while being more skeptical about their right to insist that others hold that belief. A few days ago, going through Day One’s “On This Day” feature, I found to my delight that I had written something to this extent a few years ago and then forgotten about it since.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'OpenAI, Mass Scraper of Copyrighted Work, Claims Copyright Over Subreddit's Logo'

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I don’t think intellectual property is the way to fight back against generative AI, but it is wildly out of line for a company who profits off using other’s intellectual property to be this petty. link to “OpenAI, Mass Scraper of Copyrighted Work, Claims Copyright Over Subreddit’s Logo”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith, by Tony Chvala-Smith

- kudos:

This rating isn’t fair! I’ve praised this book in the past, and it really is an excellent introduction to modern Community of Christ theology. I just happened to reread it at a time where I’m hungering for something different in terms of theological writing, so this rating reflects what I got out of the book in this moment, not all that the book actually has to offer.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'The best way to honor Melissa Inouye’s memory is to be a kind and persistent badass'

- kudos:

Jana Riess is one of my favorite Mormons, and Melissa was another. This is a great combination of the two. link to “The best way to honor Melissa Inouye’s memory is to be a kind and persistent badass”

labyrinths vs. mazes

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As I blogged elsewhere a couple of days ago, I’ve recently purchased the most recent (and maybe last?) album from the folk rock Québécois band Les cowboys fringants, whose music I’ve been listening to since 2011. Their lead singer, Karl Tremblay, passed away far too young from cancer last November, which made this album a bit of a surprise, but Tremblay had managed to contribute to some of the songs before his death, and the rest of the band managed to put the rest of the album together in their grief.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'The solution to the problems that we have now is not in a perfect platform...it’s just in people. - Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye - Exponent II'

- kudos:

I worked a lot with Melissa over five years, but I still didn’t know her terribly well. I didn’t know many of these things about her, and learning them just makes me miss her more. She was truly the best of Mormonism in so many ways. link to “The solution to the problems that we have now is not in a perfect platform…it’s just in people. - Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye - Exponent II”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Courageous LDS scholar whose life and writings exemplified — and expounded on — earthly struggles dies at 44 '

- kudos:

A beautiful obituary for a beautiful person. link to “Courageous LDS scholar whose life and writings exemplified — and expounded on — earthly struggles dies at 44 “

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born, by John Shelby Spong

- kudos:

The last few chapters of this book really captured me, but I was of more mixed feelings on the rest of it. It took me a couple tries to get through it, and as late as last week, I was ready to abandon it. Spong is one of those writers who repeats arguments; having read another of his books, much of this one sounded familiar. Some of his arguments also felt simplistic, and I think a more nuanced look at the historical Jesus would stand in tension with his perspective (though this is based on my reading of other authors—this is clearly not an area of my expertise).

falsifiability and Mormon apologetics

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Back in early March, as part of my flurry of posts about the Kirtland Temple, I wrote something about some of the dubious historical bits associated with Latter-day Saint beliefs about the significance of a purported visitation of the biblical prophet Elijah to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. That post has gotten a lot of hits over the past few weeks: According to my excellent, privacy-conscious analytics provider, it’s up to 70 hits over the past 30 days, 55 of which were over the week leading up to April 15th, when I got my last email digest.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'We Can, and We Must, Clown on the Humane AI Pin Forever'

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I have not been following this discourse, but I feel like I’d agree with this article even if I had and, besides, the article makes me glad I haven’t been following it. link to “We Can, and We Must, Clown on the Humane AI Pin Forever”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Lausanne ouvre son premier espace oecuménique urbain'

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Sympa, et hyper intéressant. link to “Lausanne ouvre son premier espace oecuménique urbain”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'AI isn't useless. But is it worth it?'

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I think this might be one of the best things I’ve read on generative AI. link to “AI isn’t useless. But is it worth it?”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Facebook’s AI Told Parents Group It Has a Gifted, Disabled Child'

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Ugh, so creepy. link to “Facebook’s AI Told Parents Group It Has a Gifted, Disabled Child”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for American Zion: A New History of Mormonism, by Benjamin E. Park

- kudos:

An excellent history. I’ve read enough Mormon history that I don’t know if there was anything new for me in here, but Park does an excellent job of capturing 200 years in a constrained space and in accessible language, too. I highly recommend this to folks who want to learn more about Mormonism.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'All Bad Bosses at Amazon Are Now Named ‘Wayne’'

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Funny meme, depressing reality. link to “All Bad Bosses at Amazon Are Now Named ‘Wayne’”

yet more on Independence temple theology

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On the way home from work today, I listened to the latest episode of the Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land podcast, recapping the recent LDS General Conference. The two guests—Emily Jensen and Patrick Mason—were both great, and even though I have no interest in watching General Conferences myself, I’m really grateful for the Tribune’s coverage. Patrick Mason made a comment about possible Latter-day Saint temple theologies that struck me as interesting in the context of what I’ve been writing recently about Community of Christ Independence Temple theology, and I wanted to capture it here.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Teen Girls Confront an Epidemic of Deepfake Nudes in Schools'

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Sure, Midjourney is fun, but this is the price we’re paying for that kind of technology out in the world. link to “Teen Girls Confront an Epidemic of Deepfake Nudes in Schools”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'LDS leaders announce new Mormon temple for Cincinnati'

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I’m no longer a practicing Latter-day Saint, but having grown up near Cincinnati, this is still something I’ll be paying attention to! Jana’s take is (unsurprisingly) a thoughtful and good one. link to “LDS leaders announce new Mormon temple for Cincinnati”

more thoughts on Independence temple theology

- kudos:

This past week, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the opening of RLDS (now Community of Christ) priesthood to women, the Community of Christ YouTube channel posted a video that was originally recorded back in 1984, during and after that year’s World Conference. From the very first second, it is very clearly a product of the 1980s, and I love it for that. Here’s a link, but I have more to write afterwards on a specific part of the video:

more on stories (not history) as the source of faith

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Just over a month ago, I found and blogged about a Thomas Römer quote that I had been trying to hunt down for quite some time. I’m continuing to listen to Römer’s lectures, and in the one I’m currently listening to, he revisits the idea from before. As before, I don’t want to miss the chance to write it down for future reference, and I figure a blog post is as good an opportunity as any to do so.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

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I’ve read this a couple of times in the past, but I wanted to give it another read specifically as anarchist fiction. I’ve enjoyed other books with anarchist themes, so I wondered how this would read through that lens. I can see why this book is considered a classic, but it just doesn’t really resonate with me. The art isn’t my favorite, and while some of the ideas are interesting, the execution sometimes feels clunky.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Even The Most Well-Meaning Internet Regulations Can Cause Real Harm'

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I’ve only skimmed this so far, but while I firmly believe that the fetishizing of freedom of expression is causing real issues in our world, I appreciate Masnick’s critique. I expect I’ll always be more keen on regulation than he is, but that doesn’t make him wrong in the points he’s making here. link to “Even The Most Well-Meaning Internet Regulations Can Cause Real Harm”

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Really want to make a joke involving Holy Saturday and the 1990s comic arc “Reign of the Supermen,” but those ingredients are all I can come up with.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Special Features of Trump’s Bible'

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This is pretty good. link to “Special Features of Trump’s Bible”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'AI already uses as much energy as a small country. It’s only the beginning.'

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There are some important and interesting pieces of information in here. link to “AI already uses as much energy as a small country. It’s only the beginning.”

Community of Christ's Holy Week

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I am not great at observing the different seasons of the liturgical year. A good friend of mine once responded to this complaint with “Welcome to living a liturgical year life,” so I gather that to a certain extent, this is how everyone feels about it. It always feels a little frustrating to me, though, because I love the idea of the liturgical year. I attended a spiritual retreat sponsored by my congregation last Saturday, and one of the activities we did was to string together some painted wooden beads representing the different liturgical seasons as we read about what each of those different seasons represents.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Elon Discovers When Content Moderation Makes Sense: When He Can Use It To Protect Racist Bigots From Being Called Out'

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“Mentioning names both is and isn’t allowed. It’s a quantum superposition of content moderation that only collapses when observed by Musk himself.” 😂😂😂 link to “Elon Discovers When Content Moderation Makes Sense: When He Can Use It To Protect Racist Bigots From Being Called Out”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for The New Testament: A Translation, by David Bentley Hart

- kudos:

This probably deserves a higher score: I don’t know that the New Testament is best read “cover to cover” (it’s not that kind of book), and I was listening to it via audiobook, which is even less ideal. I really appreciate what Hart is up to, but I don’t feel like I got it reading it in this way. I’m sure I’ll come back to this translation when considering specific passages, though!

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: The antitrust case against Apple (22 Mar 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I’ve been waiting for Doctorow’s take on this, and it’s good. I’m an Apple user, but Doctorow’s criticisms all ring true to me. link to “Pluralistic: The antitrust case against Apple (22 Mar 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Politicians Who Voted to Ban TikTok May Own as Much as $126 Million in Tech Stocks'

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I doubt this is as straightforward as the headline makes it sound, but there are lots of interesting points in this article. link to “Politicians Who Voted to Ban TikTok May Own as Much as $126 Million in Tech Stocks”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for For the Win, by Cory Doctorow

- kudos:

I was living outside the country and in my own little religious world when the 2008 financial crisis hit, and so my understanding of that moment in history has always been kind of flimsy. Despite being a weird near-future MMO-centric book, I kind of feel like reading this helped? I read on Wikipedia that some criticis weren’t a fan of the economics tangents, but I like Doctorow when he’s didactic, so even though I didn’t follow all the details, I enjoyed what he was going for (I just don’t have a head for economics or finance).

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'As The US Freaks Out About TikTok, It’s Revealed That The CIA Was Using Chinese Social Media To Try To Undermine The Gov’t There'

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Oh, so the moral panic is hypocritical, too. link to “As The US Freaks Out About TikTok, It’s Revealed That The CIA Was Using Chinese Social Media To Try To Undermine The Gov’t There”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '“Line upon line, precept on precept”? Maybe not.'

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Fascinating perspective. I’d never learned this before. link to ““Line upon line, precept on precept”? Maybe not.”