Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Respecting the President / Political Bullying

A friend of mine has blogged about the Nebo School District decision--and then reversal of that decision--NOT to let students hear the President of the United States speak. You can read his post via the link below; my comment follows.

Thanks, Gideon. As a couple of the comments have suggested, liberals and Democrats can be intolerant too, when given the chance. But the fact is that in Utah, especially Utah Valley, one party and one political persuasion heavily dominate. That means that here and now, they are the ones doing the bullying. They are the ones who can, and because many of them feel so certain they are right and see themselves so close to having complete domination, it is easy for many of the dominant persuasion to demonize, demean, and intimidate those with different views.
It’s not unlike racism. Of course, people of various races are capable of all that is good or bad in human nature. But typically it is racial minorities that face persecution, because the majority has the power to persecute and, measuring everyone against itself, easily transforms racial difference into inferiority.

With race too, Utah Valley has far to go. I had no idea it had SO far to go until I became friends with lots of the valley’s blacks and hispanics and learned some of what they, including their school children, face. Some of the incidents--I’m referring to incidents right here in Utah Valley--were so bad that when they were reported to President Hinckley, he wept. In response, he gave a stirring address in the priesthood session of General Conference, April 2006, in which he denounced racism and intolerance and mean-spiritedness in general, asking, “Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can't all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” No one indulging in such behavior, he said, “can consider himself a true disciple of Christ, nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the Church of Christ.” He called for efforts to “accommodate diversity” and called for any who were guilty of “racial hatred,” including “racial slurs and denigrating remarks,” to “ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.”

I wonder if we need such an address again, this time focusing specifically on political ridicule and bullying, especially directed against children. LDS Church leaders have long tried to persuade members that it’s OK to be a Democrat, that “various political parties,” including “all major” ones, have “principles compatible with the gospel.” Church leaders have deliberately, though quietly, encouraged political diversity in Utah. Just as previous Church presidents have met with presidents of the country, President Monson recently met with President Obama. President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballad attended the inauguration, and both felt encouraged by the spirit of unity they felt there. Pres. Uchtdorf said it was great “to see a unity there that I hope will last on and continue throughout the years of this administration.” He also said, “We pray for President Barack Obama’s success in these challenging times and join in his expressions of hope and optimism.” According to Elder Ballard, “We need to exercise our prayers and help him accomplish the great objectives that he has set.” All of this is vastly different in tone and spirit from much of what is heard in Utah Valley, where the great majority claim to be Latter-day Saints.

Simply being a citizen of the United States should impel you to listen to your president with respect, whether or not you agree with him. I don’t understand why so many in Utah Valley fail to meet even this minimal standard.

Posted by: Bruce Young September 11, 2009 at 04:38 PM

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The conspiracy theory mentality

Today I ran into a fun post, accompanied by a video, at

Having lived through the "Paul is dead" hoax, the "moon landing is fake" theory, and lots of other strangeness, I find conspiracy theories in general to be often laughable but sometimes pernicious.

I occasionally need to use and other sources to explain to my friends why I'm not going to pass on their frantic e-mails about the latest terrible thing "THEY" are doing. (E.g.,

I've also posted on the Obama birth certificate craziness-- The amazing thing with that conspiracy is that "they" even managed to put an announcement of Obama's birth in a Honolulu paper shortly after his "birth," in anticipation of his run for the presidency--unless all the old Honolulu newspaper archives have been falsified!

What's wrong with the conspiracy theory mentality? Yes, paranoia, fear, distrust. I've even seen conspiracy-prone friends on the verge of psychosis, seeing "signs" everywhere: in license plates, on billboards, on ceilings in the Salt Lake Temple. The conspiracy theory mentality also breeds contention, lack of civility and charity, egomania, violent fantasies, and the breakdown of such mental faculties as insight, wisdom, intelligence, understanding, and rational inquiry and analysis. I believe it shows a lack of genuine trust in God. And it diminishes and destroys such gifts of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, faith, hope, meekness, patience, and brotherly kindness. Come to think of it, it basically takes a wrecking ball to all of the Christlike attributes.

I suspect these are among the reasons LDS Church leaders have warned against this kind of mentality, a mentality to which Church members are sometimes prone. I remember several instances of such warnings, and I read recently in The Mormon Quest for the Presidency (Newell Bringhurst and Craig Foster) of Church efforts during the 1990s to dissuade members who were following the likes of Bo Gritz into various troubling activities: refusing to pay taxes, forming armed militias, accusing Church leaders of "muzzling" President Benson, etc. Bo Gritz, a white supremacist and conspiracy theorist who had joined the Church and who ran for the US presidency, ended up asking to have his name removed from Church records, feeling the Church had gone astray, and went on to take part in the "Fellowship of Eternal Warriors" and other survivalist groups and to warn that America was in "the cusp of Global Corporate Fascism." Another Church member who was excommunicated (and later started his own sect in Manti, Utah) accused the Church of supporting the "New World Order," a favorite target of conspiracy theorists (including Bo Gritz, who believes the United Nations is a front for the New World Order).

In response to some of these conspiracy theorists and other right wing activists of the early 1990s, Elder Boyd K. Packer said the following in his October 1992 General Conference address ("To Be Learned Is Good If . . ."): "There are some among us now who have not been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church and who tell of impending political and economic chaos, the end of the world--something of the 'sky is falling, chicken licken' of the fables. They are misleading members to gather to colonies or cults. Those deceivers say that the Brethren do not know what is going on in the world or that the Brethren approve of their teaching but do not wish to speak of it over the pulpit. Neither is true."

The truth is that, despite involvement by some Latter-day Saints in right-wing movements and conspiracy theorizing, the membership of the Church as a whole--and especially the leadership as a group--have been reasonably mainstream, preferring a rational approach to national and world problems and participation in the normal workings of civil society. The First Presidency has sought a good relationship with ALL recent US Presidents, of both political parties. And for any who may be saying, "But doesn't the Book of Mormon teach conspiracy theories?" I would give as my considered opinion the following: The teachings of that book--about violent bands of robbers, about political corruption, and about spiritual darkness in general--are not only true but are vastly different (especially in tone and spirit) from the typical conspiracy theory mentality. One of the biggest differences is that the Book of Mormon calls on people to repent of their own sins, NOT to become obsessed with other people's sins, especially sins that are supposedly hidden somewhere in the recesses of a bizarre and incredibly complicated conspiratorial design but that, it turns out, are mainly a fantasy projected from the dark chambers of one's own soul.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

False claim about ACLU

I received an e-mail from a friend today passing on a message, variants of which have apparently been circulating for years, claiming the ACLU wants to remove cross-shaped grave markers and end prayer in the military. I replied as follows (plus I've added here some biblical references I used in responding to some websites publishing the same "information"--such websites mainly belong to conservative Christians but also include one run by KKK sympathisers):

Thank you for thinking of me when you sent this. I do pray for those in military service, many of whom put themselves unselfishly in harm’s way and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, as some of them, unfortunately, are called on to do.

Happily, the ACLU has NOT filed suit to have military cross-shaped headstones removed. As far as I know the other suit (to end prayer completely) is also a complete fiction. For information on this false rumor, see (Snopes tracks down and evaluates all sorts of rumors, including, for instance, the rumor that the LDS Church owns the Coca-Cola company: ).

I’m sure there are many other ways to verify the falsity of these rumors. (For instance, see , , and --this last one including information from the ACLU itself, from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and from the American Battle Monuments Commission.)

I will not be passing the e-mail message on to others for two reasons. First, I believe it’s wrong to knowingly present false information as if it were true—and I am confident in this case that the information is false.

Secondly, the reference to “the retched [wretched] ACLU and our new administration” does not seem to me to express a Christlike attitude (see ). The reference to our president and to an entire branch of our national government seems to me inappropriate given the 12th Article of Faith and especially Doctrine and Covenants section 134, verses 5 and 6 (“We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside. . . . We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such. . . ."). [See also 1 Peter 2:13-14 & 17, & Romans 13:1-7. Also Exodus 22:28, Eccl. 10:20, Acts 23:5, 1 Tim. 2:1-3, etc.]

It also seems to me to contradict the attitude President Monson and other Church leaders have invited us to take (see , , and ).

Thank you, though, for the reminder of the need for and the power of prayer.

Instruments of the Lord's Peace

I've referred people to this General Conference address so often that I've decided to include it in its entirety as a blog post. The original can be found inThe Ensign May 2006 or online at

Instruments of the Lord’s Peace

Elder Robert S. Wood
Of the Seventy

Robert S. Wood, “Instruments of the Lord’s Peace,” Ensign, May 2006, 93–95

Have we who have taken upon us the name of Christ slipped unknowingly into patterns of slander, evil speaking, and bitter stereotyping?


I have a friend who is a member of a political panel that is seen each week on national television. Explaining her role, she said, “We are encouraged to speak before thinking!” We appear to be living in an era in which many are speaking without thinking, encouraging emotional reactions rather than thoughtful responses. Whether it be on the national or international stage, in personal relations or in politics, at home or in the public forum, voices grow ever more strident, and giving and taking offense appear to be chosen rather than inadvertent.

The Lord has warned that from the beginning and throughout history, Satan would stir up people’s hearts to anger. 1 In the Book of Mormon, Laman set a pattern of so murmuring as to stir anger, to stoke rage, and to incite murder. 2 Time and again in the Book of Mormon, we find deluded and wicked men inciting rage and provoking conflict. In the days of Captain Moroni, the apostate Amalickiah inspired “the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi.” 3 Amulon and the wicked priests of Noah; Nehor; Korihor; and Zoram the apostate (the dishonor roll goes on throughout the Book of Mormon) were agitators who inspired distrust, fueled controversy, and deepened hatreds.

In speaking to Enoch, the Lord indicated that both the time of His birth and the time preceding His Second Coming would be “days of wickedness and vengeance.” 4 And the Lord has said that in the last days, wrath shall be poured out upon the earth without mixture. 5Wrath is defined both as the righteous indignation of God and as the very human instances of impetuous ardor and deep or violent anger. The former arises from the concern of a loving Father whose children are often “without affection, and they hate their own blood,” 6 whereas the latter wrath arises from a people “without order and without mercy, … strong in their perversion.” 7 I fear the earth is experiencing both wraths, and I suspect the divine wrath is very much provoked by those who are stirring up the hearts of men to wickedness, slander, and violent hatreds.

The first casualties of human wrath are truth and understanding. James counseled that we be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” 8 As Enoch observed, God’s throne is one of peace, justice, and truth. 9 Whether they be false friends or unrighteous teachers, artists or entertainers, commentators or letter writers to local newspapers, seekers of power or wealth, beware of those who stir us up to such anger that calm reflection and charitable feelings are suppressed.

Alma at the waters of Mormon invited those who would enter into a covenant relationship with God to stand as witnesses of God and to bear one another’s burdens. 10 As those who have indeed entered into a sacred covenant, we must remain true to the way, the truth, and the life, who is Jesus Christ.

Have we who have taken upon us the name of Christ slipped unknowingly into patterns of slander, evil speaking, and bitter stereotyping? Have personal or partisan or business or religious differences been translated into a kind of demonizing of those of different views? Do we pause to understand the seemingly different positions of others and seek, where possible, common ground?

I recall that as a graduate student I wrote a critique of an important political philosopher. It was clear that I disagreed with him. My professor told me that my paper was good, but not good enough. Before you launch into your criticism, she said, you must first present the strongest case for the position you are opposing, one that the philosopher himself could accept. I redid the paper. I still had important differences with the philosopher, but I understood him better, and I saw the strengths and virtues, as well as limitations, of his belief. I learned a lesson that I’ve applied across the spectrum of my life.

General Andrew Jackson, as he walked along the line at the Battle of New Orleans, said to his men, “Gentlemen, elevate your guns a little lower!” I think many of us need to elevate our “guns” a little lower. On the other hand, we need to raise the level of private and public discourse. We should avoid caricaturing the positions of others, constructing “straw men,” if you will, and casting unwarranted aspersions on their motivations and character. We need, as the Lord counseled, to uphold honest, wise, and good men and women wherever they are found and to recognize that there are “among all sects, parties, and denominations” those who are “kept from the truth [of the gospel] because they know not where to find it.” 11 Would we hide that light because we have entered into the culture of slander, of stereotyping, of giving and seeking offense?

It is far too easy sometimes to fall into a spirit of mockery and cynicism in dealing with those of contrary views. We demoralize or demean so as to bring others or their ideas in contempt. It is a primary tool of those who occupy the large and spacious building that Father Lehi saw in vision. 12 Jude, the brother of Christ, warned that “there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” 13

Closely related to mockery is a spirit of cynicism. Cynics are disposed to find and to catch at fault. Implicitly or explicitly, they display a sneering disbelief in sincerity and rectitude. Isaiah spoke of those who “watch for iniquity” and “make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.” 14 In this regard, the Lord has counseled in latter days that we “cease to find fault one with another” and “above all things, clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” 15

President George Albert Smith observed, “There is nothing in the world more deleterious or harmful to the human family than hatred, prejudice, suspicion, and the attitude that some people have toward their fellows, of unkindness.” 16 In matters of politics, he warned, “Whenever your politics cause you to speak unkindly of your brethren, know this, that you are upon dangerous ground.” 17 Speaking of the great mission of the latter-day kingdom, he counseled: “This is not a militant church to which we belong. This is a church that holds out peace to the world. It is not our duty to go into the world and find fault with others, neither to criticize men because they do not understand. But it is our privilege, in kindness and love, to go among them and divide with them the truth that the Lord has revealed in this latter day.” 18

The Lord has constituted us as a people for a special mission. As He told Enoch in ancient times, the day in which we live would be one of darkness, but it would also be a time when righteousness would come down from heaven, and truth would be sent forth out of the earth to bear, once more, testimony of Christ and His atoning mission. As with a flood, that message would sweep the world, and the Lord’s elect would be gathered out from the four quarters of the earth. 19 Wherever we live in the world, we have been molded as a people to be the instruments of the Lord’s peace. In the words of Peter, we have been claimed by God for His own, to proclaim the triumph of Him “who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.” 20 We cannot afford to be caught up in a world prone to give and to take offense. Rather, as the Lord revealed to both Paul and Mormon, we must neither envy nor be puffed up in pride. We are not easily provoked, nor do we behave unseemly. We rejoice not in iniquity but in the truth. Surely this is the pure love of Christ which we represent. 21

In a world beset by wrath, the prophet of our day, President Gordon B. Hinckley, has counseled: “Now, there is much that we can and must do in these perilous times. We can give our opinions on the merit of the situation as we see it, but never let us become a party to words or works of evil concerning our brothers and sisters in various nations on one side or the other. Political differences never justify hatred or ill will. I hope that the Lord’s people may be at peace one with another during times of trouble, regardless of what loyalties they may have to different governments or parties.” 22

As true witnesses of Christ in the latter days, let us not fall into the darkness so that, in the words of Peter, we “cannot see afar off,” but let us be fruitful in the testimony of Christ and His restored gospel, in thought, in speech, in deed. 23 God lives. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Joseph Smith, the great prophet of the Restoration, was the instrument by which we have been constituted as a people, led even today by a prophet of God, President Gordon B. Hinckley. Let us daily renew in our hearts the pure love of Christ and overcome with our Master the darkness of the world.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


3. Alma 48:1.

5. See D&C 115:6.

9. See Moses 7:31.

10. See Mosiah 18:8–10.

11. D&C 123:12; see also D&C 98:10.

16. Sayings of a Saint, sel. Alice K. Chase (1952), 30.

17. In Conference Report, Apr. 1914, 12.

18. In Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 44.

19. See Moses 7:62.

22. “War and Peace,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2003, 80.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heaven and hell

[This is my comment on a post found on Times and Seasons:]

C. S. Lewis has many intriguing things to say about this topic--or rather this cluster of interrelated topics: why there's a hell, whether it's eternal, whether redemption from hell is possible, what essentially life in heaven and hell might mean, whether heaven includes or allows for association with friends and family, how different heaven might be from life as we know it here, etc. My comment can only scratch the surface of what he has to say (which of course I look at with the coloring and emphasis provided by my Latter-day Saint point of view). I'll give here just a few tidbits.

On family in the afterlife: Besides questioning and deflecting hope of family reunions in the afterlife, Lewis also apparently longed for such a possibility. He wrote in The Four Loves: “We may hope that the resurrection of the body means also the resurrection of what may be called our ‘greater body’; the general fabric of our earthly life with its affections and relationships. But only on a condition . . . : nothing can enter there which cannot become heavenly.” (In LDS terms, a truly celestial marriage could only be a marriage that had become truly celestial.)

On our “small-minded expectations”: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. . . . We are far too easily pleased” (“The Weight of Glory”).

How different heaven might be from life as we know it here: By what Lewis calls “transposition,” all (perhaps) that is familiar to us might continue but be transformed and lifted to transcendence. We may “be hardly more surprised by hitherto unimagined differences than by hitherto unsuspected similarities. . . . When I know as I am known I . . . shall see how the transcendent reality either excludes and repels [the categories/concepts/realities I’m familiar with], or how unimaginably it assimilates and loads [them] with significance. Had we not better wait?”--i.e., wait and see. (All this is from “Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism”; see also “Transposition” and much of Miracles.)

On the same question from LDS sources, I just read a verse the other day that blew me away, though I’ve read it many times before: “For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for thee” (D&C 133:45). So we hope for something far beyond our present capacity to imagine. Yet Joseph Smith also noted the similarities: “that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2).

On “second chances” with implications for friends and family (this is me now, though Lewis has things to say on this as well): If God is love and if that love is essentially and supremely an absolutely unqualified concern for the welfare of others, then desiring the salvation of all (“not willing that any should perish” [2 Peter 3:9]) is part of what it means to be godly. (By the way, one of my favorite definitions of hell is from The Brothers Karamazov: “the torment of no longer being able to love.”)

Given God’s power and love, I believe that all will eventually have as many blessings as they can possibly (which among other things means “willingly”) receive. Any sort of permanent hell would thus require a person’s firm, knowing, and irrevocable choice (I believe this view is supported both by the scriptures and, as it happens, by Lewis). Or perhaps a permanent hell might also result as a person, through a series of choices, undergoes such a change of nature as to be unable any longer (ever) to choose to allow God's redeeming and transforming power to operate. (This last sentence is packed with all sorts of assumptions and speculations--but it does for me hint at what it might mean to be unredeemable.)

Short of these terrible possibilities, both the scriptures and the Spirit suggest to me that there's ALWAYS hope. John H. Groberg gave a talk on that theme that repeats the phrase "there's always hope" 40 times ( I endorse that view and would add, the story’s not over yet and won’t be for quite a while.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A comment on biblical criticism

[Comment on something found here:]

I truly enjoyed this paper--it's well written, well thought out, and wonderfully informative--and would have given it an A myself. (I teach English at BYU but have dabbled in biblical studies on the side--see the following for some of my efforts: and

By the way, I agree with you that the status of the Johannine comma has little relevance theologically. I also agree with those who suggest that the Book of Mormon's authenticity is not seriously threatened by its use of textually questionable language from the KJV. That "problem" can be quite easily accounted for. In fact, yesterday I ran into an at least marginally parallel problem in the New Testament (see

One other thing: There's a chance you may know of my wife Margaret, a major blogger at By Common Consent and formerly at Times and Seasons.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Politics--where do I fit on the spectrum?

I had an interesting exchange today with a relative. (I won't name him because I don't have his permission to do so.) It went like this:

ME: I hesitate to say I'm "left-of-center"--it depends on the issue. I range all over the spectrum, probably because the spectrum itself is all messed up. (I like to think Joseph Smith would have been similarly hard to categorize politically.) But I like the saying: "The heart is a little to the left of center."

HIM: Nice quote. I wish sometimes that right of center were not painted as heartless. It really is unfair in my opinion because the most compassionate people I know are right of center. I've always pictured Joseph smith as being right of center in a world where gay "marriage", outrageous taxation and record deficits, and unfettered access to abortion for convenience is the primary foundation of the party currently in power.

ME: The most compassionate people: I know plenty on both sides of the spectrum. The least compassionate tend toward the extreme on either end.

In response . . . (while partly agreeing and simultaneously strongly challenging the "primary foundation" phrase) I'd add: On the other hand, Joseph's championing of moderate abolitionism, economic egalitarianism (D&C 78:6), racial and religious tolerance, civil rights (with federal protection) for minority groups, and compassionate prison reform would have been considered "liberal" in his own time and would generally be so considered even now.

Attempting a fair assessment (& considering economic issues, foreign affairs, & civil rights, along with hot-button "social issues"), I would put Joseph Smith where I've placed "JS" in the following spectra:


But a linear spectrum is far too simplistic to capture anyone's political views.

HIM: Bruce, I agree, the linear spectrum is far too simplistic. The best model is not really a "spectrum" at all, but a 3D or even 4D (includes time) representation of some kind.

As for the primary foundation phrase, I have to stand by it. Until I see the "left" reform itself on those issues as much as they seem to require of the "right" on our alleged inadequate treatment of our fellow man, they will remain, in my mind, very far removed from any sort of monopoly on compassion. It is not compassion to condone or promote physical abuse of a child in the world nor in the womb. There is simply no way to justify it. None at all. I feel very strongly about this, as you can tell. It's a very personal issue for me, but then all issues are personal to the ones who hold strong opinions about them. Otherwise, they wouldn't care enough to vote about them. All voters are single-issue voters because in the end, you have to stand your ground on one major thing to check "yes" or "no" on a ballot."

[end of exchange]


Joseph Smith (for those who don't know) was the first president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He ran for president in 1844, and though some think he did so with no serious thought of winning, but rather to help protect the rights of Latter-day Saints and to help promote the Church's religious views, he had a platform that dealt seriously with the issues of the day, for instance, proposing a plan to end slavery.

I stand by my view that his "championing of moderate abolitionism, economic egalitarianism (D&C 78:6), racial and religious tolerance, civil rights (with federal protection) for minority groups, and compassionate prison reform would have been considered 'liberal' in his own time and would generally be so considered even now." But I acknowledge that the whole matter is far from simple. At some point, I'll post something on where I think Joseph Smith, the Church (historically and at present), and the gospel might fit on the political spectrum on various issues. And of course, I'll give my reasons and evidence.

To expand a bit on the views I expressed above, I'll take two issues in order:

1. Most compassionate, least compassionate: I haven't found, in real life situations, that compassion correlates particularly well with political views. I know some exceptionally good, compassionate people on both sides of the political spectrum. Sometimes, views on a particular issue have something to do with practical acts of compassion. Some conservatives care deeply about preventing the destruction of unborn children (aka abortion), about caring for the aged and disabled, and about promoting non-governmental--and sometimes governmental--efforts to help those in need. (Orrin Hatch, for instance, has worked with Teddy Kennedy and others in promoting some government initiatives he feels are effective and needed.)

Some liberals, on the other hand, are prompted by their ideals to promote efforts to help the needy and underprivileged, often through government programs but also in personal and private ways. Some I would call "liberal" (including at least one Church General Authority I happen to know) fit that label partly because of their concern about extending tolerance, sensitivity, and concern to those who are different, who don't "fit in." And "liberals" tend to be more compassionate on foreign policy and immigration issues.

On the other hand, some of these issues are the very ones that make it hard to categorize people. Orrin Hatch is considered very conservative but is selectively liberal, depending on the issue. Harry Reid is considered liberal but is anti-abortion. Governor John Huntsman is a moderate conservative who has taken moderately liberal views on some issues. Two "conservative" leaders in Utah (one a former congressman, the other a former head of the state Republic party) take a moderate, compassionate view on immigration and the treatment of illegal aliens--a view they consider endorsed by LDS Church leaders (I'd agree, having been in meetings where such views have been expressed). These same leaders I've called "conservative" have expressed frustration at what they consider the uncompassionate and unreasonable views of some of their fellow "conservatives" and have been vilified by these same fellow "conservatives" for being too "liberal" on the issue.

I've often noticed how intolerant and mean-spirited some "liberals" can be, especially in their view of people they consider narrow and intolerant. (This is one of the great ironies--but it makes sense in a way if you think about it. It's sort of how some sibling or conjugal arguments go--both sides accuse the other of the same thing, and the accusations themselves are a big part of the evidence.)

I've also known "conservatives" whose have views on some issues that I find horrifying but who have been wonderfully loving in face-to-face relationships. Their "lack of compassion" is largely imaginary--that is, it's directed toward people they don't know, such as the people of different faiths, nationalities, or political views they despise or look down on. But even though such antagonism is in a way imaginary, it does have real-life consequences. People who mentally dehumanize and demonize groups of "enemies" can provide practical toleration or support for treatment of other human beings that has traditionally(by the great religious traditions and by American constitutional traditions) been considered horribly evil, such as torture and indefinite imprisonment without charges or legal representation.

Sometimes political views affect face-to-face relationships as well. Maybe because there are more intense "right wingers" where I live than intense "left wingers," I've found some of the least compassionate people I've know to be extreme conservatives. I'm not at liberty to say all I know, but I have seen the passion that fuels political enthusiasm fueling at the same time intense hatred toward neighbors.

It seems to me the moral virtues should come first: kindness, sensitivity, tolerance, compassion, fairness, integrity, civility, humility. Once those are there, one may find one's place just about anywhere on the political spectrum. But in practice, I think it's likely that in general, and on most issues, one's position will not tend to be either extremely conservative or extremely liberal. There's probably a reason that's so, even given the fact that what counts as "conservative" and "liberal" changes somewhat from generation to generation.

2. Are "gay 'marriage,' outrageous taxation and record deficits, and unfettered access to abortion for convenience" the "primary foundation" of the present-day Democratic party? I don't believe they are.

(a) Gay marriage: A complicated issue--but I believe I can make a strong case that it makes sense to define "marriage" as it has been traditionally understood (which, among other things, means that it is a bond between a man and a woman). I also accept the LDS Church's position on the issue, which is multifaceted but which includes a similar understanding of marriage.

On the other hand, I accept some of the arguments in favor of giving legal status to "civil unions."

The present question, though, is whether support of "gay marriage" is part of the "primary foundation" of the Democratic party. It's probably true that self-identified Democrats are more likely to support gay marriage than self-identified Republicans. But the national platform of the Democratic party does not favor gay marriage; neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden supported it during the presidential campaign (in fact, all four major party candidates said more or less the same thing on the issue); and gay marriage is not favored by Harry Reid and many other Democratic leaders. I know that there are some within the party that are pushing strongly for a pro-"gay marriage" view--and that makes me nervous for a variety of reasons, including the effect it could have on the party as well as the country. But there's no way it makes any sense to call "gay marriage" part of the "primary foundation" of the Democratic party. The answer to that question is simple--fairness, honesty, and intellectual acuity all require "no, it isn't" as the basic answer to this one.

(b) "Outrageous taxation and record deficits": Hmmm. The Democratic party has long been accused of being the party of "spending and taxing." But the facts have been more complicated. Nowadays especially, fairness would require noting a few things: (1) George W. Bush has so far--in the entire history of the United States-- presided over the greatest record spending and deficits; the spending is in part the result of the Iraq invasion; the deficits are partly the result of tax cuts that were supposed to help the economy (reviews are mixed on that) but that many consider to be unfair. (2) Obama has been in office a few months and has proposed minor adjustments in tax rates for the wealthiest Americans (the changes are small enough some would consider them nominal; they are certainly not "outrageous"); deficits continue to climb, partly because of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, a crisis that did not happen under Obama's watch. (3) Obama has declared his intention and has proposed specific plans to decrease the deficit and to move toward getting the massive discrepancy between government income and spending under control; in my opinion, his plans and efforts in this direction are entirely sincere. (For some idea of what he's up to, see .)

I believe it's entirely legitimate to disagree with Obama's approach. I'm not sure anyone really knows enough or has been granted the ability to foresee the economic future in such detail that they would know exactly how best to tackle the current crisis. But I trust Obama's efforts as ones based at least on some solid principles I believe in and on the wisest advice he's been able to gather. He certainly has no desire to create a system in which what most people would consider "outrageous taxation and record deficits" are the norm.

(c) "Unfettered access to abortion for convenience": The position that many in the Democratic party have had on abortion has been one of the saddest and most challenging features of political life for me over the past 20 or 30 years. The party has, however, become more open on the issue, accommodating those with "pro-life" as well as "pro-choice" views. ("Pro-lifers" include, for instance, Harry Reid and Bob Casey.)

My own views--and the LDS Church's, for that matter--are not, however, on what is usually considered the extreme conservative side on this issue. For years, in fact, some of the anti-Mormon protesters who carry banners outside of the LDS General Conference meetings have criticized the Church for not being anti-abortion enough. The reality is that the Church's position includes elements of "pro-life" and "pro-choice"--the "choice" part being that, even in cases where the Church permits members to retain good standing for participating in abortions, encouragement is given to make the choice carefully and prayerfully.

I would like to see, as a beginning step, the removal of public funding for elective abortions. (That's Joe Biden's position.) I'd like to greatly limit what are called "partial birth" (i.e., late term) abortions--but I think it's appropriate for the law in these cases to allow exceptions for serious threats to a mother's life and health. Beyond those two things, I would focus more on education and persuasion--helping people feel, see, and live differently no matter what the law says they can and can't do--and dealing with adoption, the plight of single mothers, problems of sexual exploitation, etc., etc., which (I'm told by people who work with these issues) are often at the root of the choice to abort a child.

For more on the abortion issue as I view it, see .

A quick summary of President Obama's view: He believes abortion is a "tragic situation" but calls himself "pro-choice" and believes that "ultimately . . . women in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision." He opposes late-term abortions as long as exceptions are made for threats to the mother's life or health. He favors various measure to discourage abortion including encouraging sexual responsibility ("sexuality is sacred") and adoption and making it more economically feasible for women to choose to give birth rather than have an abortion. (For more on his views, see the link noted above and also source of the quotations.)

At some point, I'd also like to write a blog post titled "Why Mormons should support Obama," explaining that that doesn't necessarily mean agreeing with or even voting for him. It will be a good one, once I get around to it . . .

TWILIGHT: The short version

My wife Margaret got this from a friend who got it from a friend; I'm told it was created by Eric Snider (see ):

Scene 1

BELLA: I'm sad to leave the horrible, uninhabitable wasteland of Phoenix to live in a rain-soaked town full of country people that do not understand my city ways. I wish everything about my comfortable and privileged life were completely different!
DAD: Hi, Bella! Welcome to Forks, Washington. I'm glad you've stopped playing mother to your own flighty, irresponsible mom and come here to be my mother instead.
BELLA: It will be my pleasure to cook and clean for you.
DAD: I bought you an old truck from an Indian in a wheelchair!
BELLA: I ... have no response for that.

* * * * *

Scene 2

BELLA: It's tough being the new kid in school! Especially when everyone is so friendly and helpful and interested in me. Why can't they just leave me alone so I can sit in the corner and be left alone to pout?
CLASSMATE: You're awesome, Bella!
BELLA: See what I have to put up with? Hey -- who are those hot people over there?
CLASSMATE: Those are the Cullens. They avoid direct sunlight, they don't eat food, they sleep in coffins in a graveyard, and holy water burns them. I think they're Canadians.
BELLA: They sure are spectacularly gorgeous.
CLASSMATE: Yes, they are.
BELLA: I mean seriously, those people are BEAUTIFUL. Especially the one who keeps looking at me. Man alive, that guy is stunning. I mean, wow. He is hot buttered seduction on a stick. I mean, LOOK AT HIM! If you don't mind, I'd like to spend the next 75 pages talking exclusively about how attractive he is, and then bring it up again every paragraph or so for the remaining 400 pages.
CLASSMATE: Knock yourself out.

* * * * *

Scene 3

EDWARD: Hi, I'm Edward. I'm every girl's fantasy boyfriend: moody, humorless, violent, capable of snapping your spine with my bare hands, liable to do creepy things like watch you while you're sleeping, but also really cute.
BELLA: There is something strange about you.
EDWARD: (recoils at her garlic breathe) I don't know what you mean.
BELLA: I just can't put my finger on what it is.
EDWARD: (lifts automobile with one hand) You're imagining things.
BELLA: I feel like you're hiding something from me.
EDWARD: (grabs passing rabbit with lightning speed; drinks rabbit's blood) Don't be silly!
BELLA: It's like you're different somehow.
EDWARD: (turns into bat; flies away)
BELLA: Hmm. I bet he's foreign.

* * * * *

Scene 4

JACOB: You should be careful with those Cullens. Many moons ago, our tribe's elders, who were werewolves, made a pact with the Cullens, who were vampires. They're not allowed on our land, not even at our casinos.
BELLA: What, still? Even after all this time has passed?
JACOB: Nope.
BELLA: Since when do white people honor treaties with Indians?
JACOB: I know, right?
BELLA: Let me guess -- you're a character whose only job is to provide exposition, and you won't be useful until the next book.
JACOB: Yes. At the earliest.

* * * * *

Scene 5

BELLA: Thanks for saving me from that mob of guys who attacked me in the street! It's a good thing you obsessively stalk me while simultaneously insisting you want nothing to do with me.
EDWARD: No problem. If anyone's going to tear you limb from limb and gorge them selves on your sweet, delicious, life-giving blood, it's going to be me.
BELLA: Aw, you say the nicest things! I'm pretty sure you're a vampire, that I'm in love with you, and that part of you wants to kill me.
EDWARD: Don't be silly. It's not just part of me.
BELLA: HA HA HA!!! You're so funny!

* * * * *

Scene 6

EDWARD: You know what vampires love? Baseball!
BELLA: Really?
EDWARD: Sure! Haven't you ever heard of vampire bats?


EDWARD: Anyhoo, these are the vampire friends I live with, the Cullens. They've been very eager to eat you.
BELLA: You mean meet me?
EDWARD: Meet you. What did I say?
ALICE: I'm Alice! I can see the future, but only when it's useful to the plot. For example, right now: Look out for those mean vampires barging in from the forest!
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum! I smell the blood of a human!
EDWARD: Stay away from her! Bella, you'd better go. I don't want you to have to see me fight this guy for your honor, our muscles straining as we grapple, the air thick with testosterone and the sounds of our throaty snarling.
BELLA: Right! I wouldn't want to see that! Especially not if your shirts got torn off!

* * * * *

Scene 7

MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: You puny humans are so predictable and weak. Now I've got you alone, free to toy with you and torture you and deliver lengthy explanatory monologues to you! I just hope I don't waste so much time that when I finally do decide to kill you it's too late because Edward and the Cullens have arrived to save you!
BELLA: That would certainly be an unusual twist!
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: Never mind! At last it is time for me to--
EDWARD: Not so fast, Count Jerkula!
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: Edward! And the Cullens! Who could have foreseen your perfectly timed arrival?!
ALICE: I could have! Didn't, but could have!

(Fighting ensues. MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES is vanquished.)

EDWARD: Bella! Are you OK? He bit you! I've got to suck out the vampire poison!
BELLA: Edward, you don't have to make up excuses to suck my blood. I mean honestly, who ever heard of "vampire poison"?
EDWARD: I'm serious! It's coursing through your veins as we speak!
BELLA: Uh-huh, Whatever you say.

* * * * *

Scene 8

BELLA: Why did you bring me to the prom, Edward? You know I can't dance, and that I hate it when people tell me I'm beautiful, which happens all the time.
EDWARD: I don't want your dangerous psychological infatuation with a vampire to interfere with your regular life.
BELLA: But I want to BE a vampire! I want you to do it to me.
EDWARD: You're sure you want to be a vampire?
EDWARD: Well, how about if I press my lips against your throat in an ambiguous way, just enough to ensure that readers come back for the sequel?
BELLA: It's a deal.

(Fade to black; roll credits; send in ushers to mop up audience's tears and drool.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lynda Young Tuckett: on the first anniversary of her death

My sister Lynda Young Tuckett died a year ago today. In her memory, I copy here the tenderly, beautifully expressed feelings of her husband, Joe Tuckett, as found in the obituary he wrote at the time of her death:

On Monday, April 7, 2008, our loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and dear friend lost her ten year battle with breast cancer, the past two years being painful bone cancer. She is now free from her pain and the cares of the world. For this we are grateful.

Lynda was born September 28, 1962 in Payson, Utah. She was born to goodly parents, Daren C. and Ruth W. Young, and was blessed to have been born into a wonderful, loving family with five siblings. She resided most of her life in Spanish Fork. Lynda met her sweetheart at a Single Adult dance and knew that they would be eternal companions after this first chance meeting. She was married on June 26, 1981 in the Salt Lake Temple to Joseph Steven Tuckett. After living one year in Spanish Fork, they purchased a home in Payson and resided there until her death. Together they raised three beautiful children. The oldest is Steven, then Angeline, then her baby, Aubriana.

Lynda graduated from Spanish Fork High School and attended UVSC for a short time until her marriage. She was a very intelligent person although, in her modesty, she didn't feel that she was.

Lynda served the Lord diligently, always going the extra mile, in every calling that she received. She served in the Primary, Cub Scouts, Young Women, and the Relief Society. She also served the Lord well by being a good neighbor and friend to those around her. Often, she would send notes to someone after they had given a touching talk or lesson in church...or to a stranger who she felt needed a little encouragement or to be lifted up in some small way.

Lynda worked for many years as a Title One Technician for Nebo School District. She worked until two weeks before her death. She touched the lives of many children, co-workers, and teachers alike. This is evident by her former students who would run to her and wrap their loving arms around her when they would see her years later. It is also evident from the comments of many of her co-workers who have expressed their deepest love and regards at her passing. Our family is very grateful for your wonderful gifts of love that you have given to us over the years. We thank you.

Our sincere thanks go to those health care providers who have blessed Lynda and made her ordeal as comfortable as possible. You truly showed to her the pure love of Christ. We thank Dr. J. Cordell Bott and Dr. T. J. Blair. We also thank Amber, Shirley, Natalie, and countless other practitioners, nurses, and aides from the Central Utah Cancer Clinic who blessed Lynda through these trying times.

Our thanks goes to our many LDS Ward and Stake leaders, members, neighbors, and friends who have given us food, gifts, and, most importantly, their love and support. We thank our families and friends who joined with us in countless prayers, fasts, and blessings in Lynda's behalf.

Lynda is survived by her husband Joe; her children Steven, Angeline, and Aubriana; her parents; and her siblings Bruce, Annette, Lawrence (Larry) and Daren K. Lynda is also survived by many nephews, nieces, and cousins who she dearly loved. She was preceded in death by her sister, Nancy, and her grandparents, Alfred and Emma Jane Wilson, and Lawrence Alfred and Leila Young.

There is a quote that typifies Lynda: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

From her cheery, loving disposition, to her beautiful smile and infectious laugh, she was, through and through, one of God's sweetest angels sent from heaven. We are all blessed to have known her and loved her. To have known Lynda was to have loved her. We know there are many beyond the veil that are grateful to have her return home. Sweetheart, you will be sorely missed but, never forgotten.

We will have a viewing Friday, April 11, 2008 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Payson West Stake Center. The address is 500 South 800 West. The funeral is on Saturday, April 12th at the Payson 11th Ward Building at 400 North 900 West in Payson. There will be a viewing from 9:00-9:45 a.m. The funeral will begin at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be at the Spanish Fork Cemetery at 400 South 400 East.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

President Obama's birth certificate

Though for well-informed folks the issue has long been put to rest, some have persisted in questioning President Obama's eligibility for the presidency on the grounds that he may not have U.S. citizenship. Fact: He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, August 4, 1961--that would definitely mean he was born on U.S. soil. His mother was a U.S. citizen. That means that by any reasonable definition, he is a "natural born citizen" of the United States.

The question of eligiblity for the presidency has come up before. John McCain was not born in the United States (as that is generally understood) but was born at a U.S. military installation, in Panama (and to U.S. parents). So he was generally accounted eligible. Questions have also arisen about George Romney, Chester Arthur, and others, who were--or may have been--born outside of the United States, though born as citizens because their parents were U.S. citizens. (George Romney was born in Mexico.) Questions were even raised about Barry Goldwater because he was born in Arizona before it became a state. Wikipedia has an article on the issue, noting among other things that the precise meaning of "natural born citizen" (the constitutional requirement) has never been determined (see

Recently, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama was reported as saying that, though people claim Obama was born in Hawaii, "I haven't seen any birth certificate," and "You have to be born in America to be president."

Well, here's Senator Shelby's chance. What follow are photos of a certified copy of Obama's birth certificate, taken by researchers for Their full report can be found at

They also include photos of a birth announcement that appeared in a Honolulu newspaper on August 12, 1961, again confirming the August 4 birth of the boy who would become President Obama. I've also reproduced that announcement below.

Some still ask, "Why can't we see the original complete form filled out at the hospital in 1961?" Apparently, Hawaii law provides only for requesting a certified copy, not for getting a photograph of the original form. I believe that's typical of many states. For those who don't want to believe the evidence, even a photograph of the original paperwork might not be sufficient. They might want to go to Honolulu, see if they can get the authorities to let them see the paperwork, maybe even get permission to do tests on the paper to determine its age, etc., etc. But for most of us, a legally certified copy, along with a birth announcement appearing a few day's after Barack's birth, should be persuasive enough. I think that's also called "sanity."

(Click on any of the photos below to see larger versions.)

The birth announcement:

The column in which the birth announcement appears (it's hard to see, but it's the fourth announcement from the bottom):

Friday, February 20, 2009

Evolution and the LDS Church

Here's my standard explanation (with links):

BYU's Board of Trustees (which includes members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve) has stated, “there has never been a formal declaration from the First Presidency addressing the general matter of organic evolution as a process for development of biological species” (see the cover letter to the 1992 BYU Evolution Packet). Of humans, this letter states, “The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how.”

For details about official LDS positions on evolution, including material approved to be presented at BYU, plus some additional and very interesting items, see the following:





(an entire issue of a journal at BYU-Idaho on the subject; see especially

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oxford, England (info from 1996)

Though this is from 1996, some of it is still valid. My main question is on the bus routes and the prices. I've added some more recent information (or clarification or correction) in square brackets.

Planning your visit to Oxford
As usual there’s more to do than you’ll have time for. You may want to make an extra visit to Oxford on your own (it’s easy and relatively cheap--take the "Oxford Tube," a bus that will pick you up on Bayswater Road practically across the street from Palace Court [--also various other spots in London]). I especially recommend that fans of C. S. Lewis make a special trip to see sites associated with him.

General sites to see (number of asterisks indicates how interesting or important I think a site is):

Carfax Tower (corner of High St. and Cornmarket St.--gives a nice view of the city)

*The Painted Room (#3 Cornmarket, associated with Shakespeare; I’ll see if I can get those who are interested in [it's one floor up, I think; a social services organization uses the space; they might show you if you just drop by, but they prefer having you arrange a visit])

**The Ashmolean Museum (there are a number of other museums in the city as well)

**Bodleian Library: one of the great libraries of the world; in the part known as the Divinity School (architecturally splendid) you may be able to see some of the library’s treasures, including Tottel’s Miscellany, Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, and original manuscripts by Donne, Shelley, Kenneth Grahame, T. E. Lawrence, and Joyce Cary.

**Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre (architecturally important)

*St. Mary the Virgin Church (John Henry Newman preached hear before becoming a Catholic; he was part of the Oxford or Tractarian movement trying to make the Church of England more "Catholic"--i.e., more emphasis on tradition and authority; lots of other history)

*Martyr’s Memorial (memorial to Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, Protestant clergy who were interrogated in St. Mary’s and burned in Oxford, near the spot marked by the memorial [the actual spot of the burning is marked with an X in the pavement on Broad St., I believe; same street Blackwell's is on, but opposite end--i.e., to the west], during the reign of the Catholic queen Mary I; the memorial was erected partly in reaction to the Tractarian movement)

**Blackwell's [an amazing bookstore]

Saxon Tower of St. Michael (at Northgate; one of Oxford’s most ancient buildings)

**The various colleges (especially Christ Church [see more below], University [statue of Shelley], Magdalen [see under C. S. Lewis sites]; also noted historically, artistically, or architecturally are New College, All Souls, St. John’s, and Keble [has Holman Hunt’s painting The Light of the World in its chapel])

**Christ Church College (an outstanding college associated with various figures including Charles Dodgson, the author of the Alice books; see the chapel, which is also Oxford’s cathedral; the Great Hall, which has a window devoted to Alice; and other sites at the college; also see Alice’s Shop, with Alice in Wonderland memorabilia, across the street from the college) [this is also the college where parts of Harry Potter were filmed]

"The Oxford Story," 6 Broad St., open 10am-4pm (a multimedia creation from the same people who brought you the Jorvik Center; I haven’t seen the Oxford Story, but I might try it out)

Golden Cross Inn on Cornmarket St. (One of Oxford’s oldest; plays by Shakespeare are said to have been performed in the yard)

Merton St.: 13th century cobbled street

The site of William Morris’s original workshop (corner of Holywell and Longwall St.)

A bit of the city wall (corner of Longwall and High St.)

Note that walking tours of the city are given by official guides (for £4) and by students (varies: about £2), usually starting either from Carfax or from the Oxford Information Centre, Gloucester Green. The guides gives lots of interesting information as they take you to various colleges.

[note also that there are several walking tours that start from Blackwell's, including an "Inklings" tour around 11 or so on Wednesdays]

C. S. Lewis sites:
The Lewis sites come mainly in 3 groups--
(1) Pubs on St. Giles St.: The Eagle and the Child (familiarly known as the "Bird and the Baby"), where Lewis met regularly with his friends, including J. R. R. Tolkien, to talk, etc. (the group was known as "the Inklings"); during certain periods they also met at the Lamb and the Flag, a pub across the street. In the Eagle and the Child (which is now a bit grungy) you can see the room where the group met; there are pictures and plaques on the wall.
(2) Colleges associated with Lewis: University College, where he was an undergraduate; and especially Magdalen College, where he taught for many years. Magdalen College is interesting in its own right. You can see the quadrangles, cloisters, and chapel. Lewis had rooms where he taught students and met with his friends in what are called the New Buildings ("new" means 1733). From the New Buildings you can go through a blue iron gate to "Addison’s Walk," a nice walk that is important for Lewis because it was while walking here late at night with J. R. R. Tolkien and another friend that Lewis came to more fully accept Christianity and understand its importance.
(3) About 3 miles from the center of Oxford (in an area called "Headington Quarry") is Lewis’s home ("the Kilns" on a street now called Lewis Close), a nature preserve behind his home (once part of his property; it’s a magic place--I think of it as a part of Narnia, or maybe the Wood between the Worlds), and Holy Trinity Church (Lewis attended church there; if you can get the vicar to open the church you can sit in Lewis’s pew and see the Narnia window next to it; you can also see Lewis’s grave in the churchyard).
You can pretty easily see the sites listed under (1) and (2) during our group daytrip to Oxford. To see the sites under (3) you’ll probably have to come another time. For those who are interested (either for this trip or later), I can provide a map and some suggested itineraries, including bus #’s and other information for getting to the Lewis sites.

Literary figures associated with the Colleges
Some of these are mentioned on Rachel and Rebecca’s handout. This is a supplementary listing that will help you to know which literary figures were students at (or were otherwise associated with) particular Oxford colleges. (But note that this is only a very small selection.)
All Soul’s: William Camden, Jeremy Taylor, Edward Young, T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia").
Balliol: John Wycliffe, Adam Smith, Robert Southey (visited by Coleridge), Matthew Arnold, Algernon Swinburne, Andrew Lang, Gerard Manley Hopkins, A. C. Bradley, Hilaire Belloc, Aldous Huxley, Arnold Toynbee.
Brasenose: Robert Burton, Thomas Traherne, Walter Pater.
Christ Church: Thomas More, Philip Sidney, Robert Burton, John Locke, John Ruskin, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dodgson ("Lewis Carroll"), W. H. Auden.
Corpus Christi: Robert Bridges.
Exeter: John Ford, William Morris (there’s a Morris tapestry in the chapel), J. R. R. Tolkien.
Hertford: Samuel Daniel, John Donne, Evelyn Waugh.
Jesus: Henry Vaughan.
Lincoln: William D’Avenant.
Magdalen (pronounced "Mawdlin"): John Foxe, John Lyly, Joseph Addison, Edward Gibbon, Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis (as teacher).
Magdalen Hall: Thomas Hobbes; John Keats visited.
Merton: Philip Massinger, Thomas Carew, Richard Steele, Andrew Lang, Max Beerbohm, J. R. R. Tolkien (as teacher).
New College: John Galsworthy.
Oriel: Walter Ralegh, Gilbert White, John Henry Newman, Arthur Hugh Clough, Matthew Arnold (as teacher).
Pembroke: Francis Beaumont, Thomas Browne, Samuel Johnson (started but didn’t finish).
Queen’s: John Davies, Thomas Middleton, William Wycherley, Walter Pater (as student), T. H. White (author of The Once and Future King).
St. John’s: James Shirley, Abraham Cowley, A. E. Housman.
Somerville: Dorothy Sayers (devoted Christian and writer of detective stories, described in her student days as an "exuberant young female" who always seemed to be preparing for parties).
Trinity: Thomas Lodge, John Denham, John Henry Newman, Joyce Cary; Johnson and Boswell visited when Johnson received an honorary degree.
University: Percy Bysshe Shelley (see other handout on his being kicked out and now having a monument), C. S. Lewis (as student).
Worcester: Richard Lovelace, Thomas de Quincey.

[be skeptical of the accuracy of prices and bus route numbers]

Bruce Young: Possible ways to spend a day in Oxford (including C. S. Lewis sites)
Since you won’t have time to see everything, I’m presenting two itineraries based on seeing only the C. S. Lewis sites near the center of Oxford and two itineraries that include Lewis sites both near the center and on the outskirst of Oxford.

Itinerary #1: Pay an official city guide (Oxford Information Centre, Gloucester Green) or a student guide (Carfax--corner of High St. and Cornmarket St.) to take you on a walking tour. Some tours will differ from others, but most guides will take you to a variety of colleges, giving you interesting information about them. Some guides will know about C. S. Lewis; others will not. Your tour may or may not take you to significant Lewis sites.

Itinerary #2 (self-guided tour including a few Lewis sites):
(a) Go from the coach park (on Oxpens Road) to St. Aldates Street. (About 15 minutes)
(b) Stop at Christ Church College on St. Aldates: see the chapel (some pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows, etc.), the quad, the great hall (a window is devoted to Alice of Alice in Wonderland). (About 30 minutes)
(c) Go across the street to the Alice Shop. (About 15 minutes)
(d) Go north on St. Aldates to Carfax (the intersection with High Street) (About 10 minutes)
(e) If you’d like, pay to go to the top of Carfax Tower (nice view of the city) and/or go to “the Painted Room” (Shakespearean site) on the 2nd floor of #3 Cornmarket St. (About 15 minutes)
(f) Continue north on Cornmarket St., maybe look at the Golden Cross Inn, the Saxon Tower of St. Michael’s Church. (10-20 minutes)
(g) Continue north as Cornmarket St. becomes Magdalen St. and take a look at the “Martyr’s Memorial” (5-10 minutes)
(Note: The Ashmolean Museum is nearby, on Beaumont St., but this itinerary doesn’t allow time for it.)
(h) Continue north as Magdalen St. becomes St. Giles until you spot the Eagle and the Child pub (west side of St. Giles); go in and see the room where C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and their friends hung out; also look across the street at the Lamb and the Flag pub (10-15 minutes)
(i) Go back south down St. Giles/Magdalen St. and turn left on Broad St., continuing until you see the Sheldonian Theatre; look at it, go south past it to the Bodleian Library (go into the Divinity School, look at the ceiling and at any displays they have); continue south and look at the Radcliffe Camera; continue south and take a look at St. Mary’s Church (where John Henry Newman preached), maybe go in (About 20-30 minutes)
(j) Just to the south of St. Mary’s Church is High St.; go east on High St.; take a peek in University College if you’d like, see the statue of Shelley (About 10 minutes)
(k) Continue east on High St. to the intersection with Longwall St. (you’ll see bits of the old city wall); continue on a bit until you come (on the left) to the entrance to Magdalen College; pay to go in; see what you have time to see, including the New Buildings (where Lewis taught and met with friends) and Addison’s Walk (About 40-50 minutes)
(l) Leave Magdalen College the way you came in; go west on High St.; if you’d like take a left onto cobblestoned Merton St. when you get there and wind your way back to St. Aldates; head back to the coach park (About 20-30 minutes)

Itinerary #3 (self-guided tour including more Lewis sites--and fewer other sites):
(a) Go from the coach park (on Oxpens) past Carfax (intersection of Cornmarket and High St.); continue north a little ways on Cornmarket St. to the #7 bus stop in front of Boots (on the east side of Cornmarket St.); pay a small amount (I believe 70p) to take the bus. (About 20 minutes from Oxpens to the bus stop)
(b) Take the #7 bus (it will go up St. Clement’s, Headington Rd., and London Rd.) to the intersection of London Rd. And Gladstone Rd. (shortly before the bus reaches Green Road) (About 15 minutes)
(c) Walk to Trinity Road (see map) and find Holy Trinity Church; look at Lewis’s grave in the churchyard; if the church isn’t open and you’d like to see the inside, find the vicar (in a house you can reach down a lane from the west side of the churchyard); you can sit in the pew where Lewis sat and see the Narnia window (All this should take about 30-45 minutes)
(d) Walk from Trinity Church to Lewis Close (see map) and look at the Kilns (the house Lewis lived in--it probably won’t be open); at the end of Lewis Close look for a trail into a nature preserve that used to be part of Lewis’s property; maybe have a picnic? fantasize about Narnia? (About 30-60 minutes)
(e) Walk back to London Road and catch a bus (#7 or #2A) back to the center of Oxford (again about 70p); get off when it gets to High Street, near Magdalen College (About 15 minutes)
(f) Enter Magdalen College (you’ll probably have to pay); see what you have time to see, including the New Buildings (where Lewis taught and met with friends) and Addison’s Walk (About 40-50 minutes)
(g) Go out Magdalen College the way you came in; walk west on High St. (notice the old city wall); pop in University College if you have time (Lewis was an undergraduate here; there’s an intersting statue of Shelley); see other sites if you have time as you head toward St. Giles St. (see map); on the west side of St. Giles a couple of blocks north of the Ashmolean Museum, you’ll find the Eagle and the Child pub, where Lewis, Tolkien, and friends hung out (go in and see the room they used; also look across the street at the Lamb and the Flag, where they also sometimes met) (All of this: about 30-45 minutes)
(h) Walk south down St. Giles/Magdalen St./Cornmarket St., past Carfax as the street becomes St. Aldates, and find your way back to the coach park on Oxpens (About 20-30 minutes)

Itinerary #4 (similar to #3 but going on your own to Oxford another day):
(a) Catch the “Oxford Tube” (a bus) going to Oxford. You get the Oxford Tube on the other side (south side) of Bayswater Road across the street from the junction of Palace Court and Bayswater Road (and a little to the right). The cost is £6 return for students; buses come about every 10 minutes through most of the day and take about 1 ½ hours to Oxford.
(b) You can get off the bus in Oxford either (1) at the Green Road Roundabout, (2) at Queens Lane (the junction of High St. and Queens Lane), or (3) at Gloucester Green. If you get off at #2 or #3 you’ll be in the heart of Oxford and can proceed according to one of the itineraries above. If you get off at the Green Road Roundabout, you’ll be close the the C. S. Lewis sites in Headington Quarry: Trinity Church, the Kilns, and the nature preserve.
(c) After seeing the sites in Oxford (see the itineraries above) you can catch the Oxford Tube to get back to London (you’ll need to save your return ticket to show when you get on). You can catch it either at Gloucester Green, Queens Lane (on High St.), the Headington Post Office, or the Green Road Roundabout.

[[from a fellow named Will Vaus:]
Date sent: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 09:37:03 -0400
From: William J Vaus
Subject: Re: Places to visit in Oxford
To Oxford travelers,
Here are some places you may wish to visit in and around Oxford, directly
related to Lewis:
Bodleian Library - the Duke Humphries Library where Lewis often studied
as an undergraduate. This is one of two main repositories of Lewis'
letters and manuscripts. The other being Wheaton College in Illinois.
Lewis' original map of Narnia is on display in the Divinity School here.
Eagle & Child Pub where Lewis met every Tuesday with the Inklings. They
moved to the Lamb and Flag, across the street, in 1962.
The University Church of St. Mary the Virgin is where Lewis preached
"The Weight of Glory" in June 1941.
University College on the High Street where Lewis was an undergraduate
Merton College where Tolkien was a professor. See Tolkien's grave in the
cemetary at Wolvercote, to the northwest of Oxford, best approached on
foot across Port Meadow.
Charles Williams' grave may be seen in the cemetary behind the church of
St. Cross, Holywell.
Magdalen College. See New Buildings where Lewis had his rooms during his
30 years at Oxford as a fellow and tutor. Lewis' rooms overlooked the
Deer Park & Addison's Walk, which you will want to take a stroll around.
This is where Lewis walked with Tolkien and Hugo Dyson and discussed
Christianity on that very important night in 1931. He became a Christian
a few days later on a trip to Whipsnade Zoo outside of London. Be sure
to see the College Chapel where Lewis attended Matins during term.
Examination Schools where Lewis and Tolkien frequently lectured.
Eastgate Hotel where Lewis often met guests, like Sheldon Vanauken, for
Joy Davidman's former home at 10 Old High Street in Headington
The Kilns in Headington Quarry. Be sure to walk in the woods and view
the lake in which Shelley sailed paper boats, and more recently Lewis,
Davidman, Tolkien, Lancelyn-Green and George Sayer would stroll, deep in
thought or alive with conversation.
Holy Trinity Church and Lewis' grave -- Headington Quarry. Be sure to
see the Narnia Window inside.
Six Bells Pub in Headington -- frequented by the Lewises it now has some
Lewis memorabilia on one wall.
Oxford Crematorium where Joy Davidman's ashes are interred
Trout Inn in Godstow - a favorite pub of the Lewises
Studley Priory Hotel - where Jack and Joy often went for Sunday lunch.
Studley Priory was built in the 16th century as a Nunnery. During Lewis'
lifetime it was run as a sort of country club where Jack and many of his
friends were members. Subsequently the place was sold and made into a
hotel. Jack and Joy would go there often for lunch, afternoon tea, and
sometimes for dinner. The "Mary Tudor Parlour" has been used as a dining
room for about 400 years!
Under the Mercy,
Will Vaus]