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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🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: Kickstarting the audiobook of The Lost Cause, my novel of environmental hope (02 Oct 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

- kudos:

I backed this before Kickstarter could even say “Hey, you’ve backed stuff from Doctorow in the past…” link to “Pluralistic: Kickstarting the audiobook of The Lost Cause, my novel of environmental hope (02 Oct 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

- kudos:

The narrator in my current audiobook just wondered (critically) if a character found an ethically dodgy situation “too useful to have a conscience about,” and I think it’s one of the best lines I’ve ever heard.

the missionary with the expired visa

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Over the past few years, I’ve been slowly digitizing a bunch of analog letters, keepsakes, and other things that I think are worth keeping a copy of in the Day One journaling app (and, more importantly, in a PDF export from Day One). My current project is copying over a bunch of old emails that I sent friends during the two years I served as a Latter-day Saint missionary, and in the email I was copying this morning, I wrote about a time when I was working as the legal secretary for the mission and had to do an audit of our legal documents because:

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Addison Graham: Latter-day Saints should not admire Hungary’s ‘family values’'

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Very happy to see this op-ed emerge—especially from a BYU student. Fidesz is not a party Latter-day Saints should praise or look up to. link to “Addison Graham: Latter-day Saints should not admire Hungary’s ‘family values’”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'New lawsuit challenges educational components of SB 150 | Lexington Herald Leader'

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Glad to see action being taken against this law. link to “New lawsuit challenges educational components of SB 150 | Lexington Herald Leader”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Reddit will no longer allow users to opt out of ad personalization - The Verge'

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It baffles me when platforms think “oh, but we can help you see more relevant ads” is a selling point. Also, “not sharing data outside Reddit” doesn’t help either—it’s still an invasion of privacy. link to “Reddit will no longer allow users to opt out of ad personalization - The Verge”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'President of Hungary Discusses Faith and Family Values at BYU'

- kudos:

Look, I don’t know much about Hungarian politics, but it seems to me that it would take a hell of a lot of self-confidence to brag about an ally of Viktor Orbán visiting BYU. This feels like wading into the culture wars in a way that the LDS Church usually tries to avoid. link to “President of Hungary Discusses Faith and Family Values at BYU”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '629 | Open Topics | Wallace B. Smith | Re-Post – Project Zion Podcast'

- kudos:

I love this interview so much and for so many reasons. I haven’t been a member of Community of Christ long enough to have personal connection with Wallace B. Smith, but I have a lot of respect for him. link to “629 | Open Topics | Wallace B. Smith | Re-Post – Project Zion Podcast”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'FTC files a massive antitrust lawsuit against Amazon - The Verge'

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Amazon is too big, and while I’m not a policy expert, I welcome government efforts to keep it in check. link to “FTC files a massive antitrust lawsuit against Amazon - The Verge”

Esther is an ironic heroine for conservative Christians

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I’m pretty sure I remember exactly where I was when I realized that Esther 100% slept with the king before he chose her as his queen. I was sitting in a top-floor office in one of two villas on Chemin William Barbey in Chambésy, Switzerland. I lived on the bottom floor of the villa with some other office staff of the Switzerland Geneva Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and this office was where I did my religious studies every morning before heading out into a larger office where I helped with legal, vehicle, and other assorted logistical issues for the mission.

Pete, mint brownies, and two competing visions of Mormonism

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Pete and Sarah were mainstays of my Mormon experience growing up. Their oldest—a famously rowdy boy with several rowdy younger brothers—was present on the Sunday when I was introduced in children’s classes as a newcomer to the congregation. When I outgrew children’s classes and made my way to youth Sunday School, Pete was our teacher for a while—the kind of teacher who tried to suppress a giggle (and usually unsuccessfully) whenever the word “ass” (especially “dumb ass”) appeared in the KJV.

Leo Tolstoy and Nephi

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One of the more awkward passages in the Book of Mormon (at least from an ecumenical perspective—there’s much worse in there) is in I Nephi 3:220-222, where an angel has this to say with Nephi, the current narrator of the book: “Behold, there are save two churches only: the one is the church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil. Wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Opinion | I Was Attacked by Donald Trump and Elon Musk. I Believe It Was a Strategy To Change What You See Online. - The New York Times'

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Roth’s perspective is valuable here. Scary stuff. [link to ‘Opinion | I Was Attacked by Donald Trump and Elon Musk. I Believe It Was a Strategy To Change What You See Online. - The New York Times’](https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/18/opinion/trump-elon-musk-twitter.html?unlocked_article_code=4tdIbFuKLW42ISeaU4acN26WTieKQcsLEoCyhJt1DC8dcAq9yCnJjyrbKLCEWm2hVWmWh-x94MKiw-I_OrqJ8JIYpDsdvQ4BFioWZ_RXCQ4ftJfFamVymL4ZnoK5RUQIhDdY-ZuJck3JBMeNXn5VYxEZ-tp8__DgJ_29osLV2tNCx4SZkrQrNtAyYPdzMK4asGiGrshlttyZF4arTjYH7ObwQo2-GSiVT3z3QovPSQ8Q4L9ggP7frVv1zKmIi4yukMwCGcqmRYnUy8pmnGPw0wWV3c9FMTUKuc6VM7kGy9gMnz_OUsQCiX8LR3v5Ls40VVkp1tb_c7PD4BiQ6lFP2Aw

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Barbie

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I love a movie that leans into being bizarre because it knows exactly what it is and commits to it. I love a movie that uses metaphor to make important points. I love a movie that is self-aware and even self-critical. This was as good as I expected it to be.

the Christian symbolism of the name 'Mormon'

- kudos:

preface A quick preface: This is a post that I originally wrote nearly two years ago for By Common Consent. Lately, it’s been bugging me that I don’t have a version of it up on my own site, and since I haven’t had a lot of time this week to write anything original, I’m going to repost this here. This post elaborates on one of my favorite close readings of the Book of Mormon.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'The Batshit Crazy Story Of The Day Elon Musk Decided To Personally Rip Servers Out Of A Sacramento Data Center | Techdirt'

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What a wild story. link to ‘The Batshit Crazy Story Of The Day Elon Musk Decided To Personally Rip Servers Out Of A Sacramento Data Center | Techdirt’

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Dendo: One Year and One Half in Tokyo, by Brittany Long Olsen

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It’s weird to rate this so highly given how much anxiety it gives me to read it. Reading it four years ago is what forced me to confront how much baggage I had from my own Mormon missionary experience, but I know the author has her own complicated feelings about the book, and that helps some. At any rate, the book is so well done that I can’t help but rate it highly.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Google gets its way, bakes a user-tracking ad platform directly into Chrome | Ars Technica'

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Team Firefox foreverrrrrr link to ‘Google gets its way, bakes a user-tracking ad platform directly into Chrome | Ars Technica’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Musk shut off Starlink to prevent Ukraine attack on Russian ships, report says | Ars Technica'

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Don’t love the idea of a fickle billionnaire having this much influence in world affairs. link to ‘Musk shut off Starlink to prevent Ukraine attack on Russian ships, report says | Ars Technica’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'https://pluralistic.net/2023/09/07/govern-yourself-accordingly/'

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Appreciate Doctorow’s thinking here. link to ‘https://pluralistic.net/2023/09/07/govern-yourself-accordingly/’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Top French Court Upholds Abaya Ban in Schools - The New York Times'

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A secular state is good, but French laïcité consistently goes too far. link to ‘Top French Court Upholds Abaya Ban in Schools - The New York Times’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'How Elon Musk’s Impulses Transformed Twitter - WSJ'

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What a mess this whole thing has been. link to ‘How Elon Musk’s Impulses Transformed Twitter - WSJ’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Marsha Blackburn Makes It Clear: KOSA Is Designed To Silence Trans People | Techdirt'

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I’ll admit that I’ve been wary of Masnick’s hostility to KOSA, but Blackburn’s comments justify his stance. This ought to kill support for KOSA. link to ‘Marsha Blackburn Makes It Clear: KOSA Is Designed To Silence Trans People | Techdirt’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '*privacy not included | Shop smart and safe | Mozilla Foundation'

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Well, this sucks. [link to ‘*privacy not included | Shop smart and safe | Mozilla Foundation’](https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/articles/what-data-does-my-car-collect-about-me-and-where-does-it-go/

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'As X bleeds cash, Musk threatens Anti-Defamation League with defamation lawsuit | Ars Technica'

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This feels like a page out of Gab’s playbook. link to ‘As X bleeds cash, Musk threatens Anti-Defamation League with defamation lawsuit | Ars Technica’

🔗 linkblog: mes pensées sur 'En France, près de 300 élèves se sont présentées en abaya à l'école, malgré l'interdiction - rts.ch - Monde'

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C’est bien stupide, une telle interdiction. Je suis pour un état séparé de la religion mais contre un état qui essaie de supprimer une religion minoritaire. link to ‘En France, près de 300 élèves se sont présentées en abaya à l’école, malgré l’interdiction - rts.ch - Monde’

who has the power to bind on earth?

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One of this week’s lectionary passages includes Matthew 18:18-20, which David Bentley Hart renders: Amen, I tell you, whatever things you bind on the earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you unbind on the earth will have been unbound in heaven. Again, [amen,] I tell you that if two among you agree on earth concerning everything they request, whatever it is, it shall come to pass for them, coming from my Father in the heavens.

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It’s not that I didn’t enjoy church, but what really fed my soul today was a family trip to some beloved indie bookstores. And some listening to a radio adaptation of Les Misérables. And, okay, yes, the smores cookies and cream ice cream I snitched from spouse’s cone.

- kudos:

Today, I’m remembering the family friend from a Latter-day Saint congregation I grew up in who heard me in a church settng quote some scripture on the need for the rich to give to the poor and then took me aside to ask how liberal my school friends were and give me some cautionary advice.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Gizmodo’s owner shuts down Spanish language site in favor of AI translations - The Verge'

- kudos:

Gizmodo’s owner seems way too optimistic about AI. link to ‘Gizmodo’s owner shuts down Spanish language site in favor of AI translations - The Verge’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Meta May Offer Ad-Free Subscriptions for Instagram and Facebook in the E.U. - The New York Times'

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I’m in no way Team Meta, but this may not be a terrible thing? link to ‘Meta May Offer Ad-Free Subscriptions for Instagram and Facebook in the E.U. - The New York Times’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Persecution, Truth and the Trans Agenda – Wheat & Tares'

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Solid post. I think it’s often helpful to ask whether Latter-day Saint logic applies to things that don’t get Latter-day Saint approval. link to ‘Persecution, Truth and the Trans Agenda – Wheat & Tares’

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow

- kudos:

I just read this earlier this year, but it was too good not to revisit and it’s just as good in epub as it was in audiobook. Love this book.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Chroniques de Jérusalem, by Guy Delisle

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It’s been less than a month since I read the English translation of this, which I already gave full marks. Yet, the original French version was even better. Delisle captures this city and its conflicts in a comic book better than any news story ever could.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer

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In a way, I’m not in a great position to evaluate this book, because I’ve read shamefully little about indigenous populations in the Americas. That learning experience here, though, was a good one. Treuer doesn’t sugarcoat the past, but he celebrates the indigenous present and is even hopeful about the future. I have a lot more to read and learn, but this was a solid start.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'You Are Not Responsible for Your Own Online Privacy | WIRED'

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Some important—if disheartening—observations from Marwick. link to ‘You Are Not Responsible for Your Own Online Privacy | WIRED’