• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Motley Vision Blog on Teichert Article

The LDS blog A Motley Vision recently commented on the article “And Thus We See,” which appears in the August Ensign and features several of Minerva Teichert’s Book of Mormon paintings. As blogger William Morris says, “The Ensign’s art direction is sometimes criticized in Mormon cultural circles. Often justly. But I think it should also be applauded when it delivers.” Can’t fault that logic.

It seems that opinions about Minerva Teichert are divided in the general LDS populace. Some love her, and some, well, don’t. Personally, I like her style. And though I also like Friberg in a way, I enjoy the differences in Teichert’s paintings (for instance, depicting Abinadi as a fully clothed, young to middle-aged man instead of a sinewy octogenarian).

The article is now online and includes links to large versions of the images.

Mormonad—Wish You Were Here

Mormonad—Wish You Were HereThis month’s Mormonad in the New Era is one that I believe all of us can relate to. On top it says “Wish You Were Here,” and the picture below shows a boy and a girl sitting across from one another, each with a sundae in front of him or her. The girl’s sundae has been completely eaten (showing the passage of time), whereas the boy’s appears to be untouched. The girl’s face is wearing an expression of boredom and frustration. The kicker, of course, is that the boy’s attention is fixed squarely on the screen of his cell phone, which he is holding in front of him. He appears to have been text messaging for quite some time, oblivious to the sundae and the girl right in front of his face.

If you know anyone who ignores his or her immediate surroundings—or, more importantly, the people he or she has supposedly chosen to be with—just to talk or text on a cell phone, then you may want to send him or her this Mormonad. By the way, the scripture it refers to is Matthew 7:12 (the Golden Rule).

Mormonad Gallery

Mormonad GalleryThe New Era’s Web site now has a link to a gallery of Mormonads arranged by topic. This is a convenient way to browse through them in order to find a particular Mormonad for a lesson, a desktop wallpaper, or simply a trip down memory lane. (Some of the very earliest ones are quite funky, in my opinion.)

Over the years these ads have been hit-and-miss, and many of them come with a heaping helping of extra cheese, but there’s no denying that they have become part of the collective cultural experience for many people in the Church. We all have our favorites, and many of them stand out because of their clever imagery, word association, or simple and often personal gospel messages. So check out the gallery, and enjoy.

The Pipers of Nauvoo—with Video

New Era, June 2008—BagpipersOne of the things the New Era is about is variety. It tries to show LDS teens from a variety of places, exploring a variety of interests, and doing a variety of things. This month’s issue contains a story about a group of teens who volunteer to play the bagpipes at the Nauvoo Pageant for a couple of weeks each summer. As the article, called “The Pipers of Nauvoo,” says, “It’s an opportunity for them to develop their talent, make friends, experience old Nauvoo, learn about early Church history, draw closer as a family, build testimony, and share the gospel.”

It’s unusual, it’s fun, and it has a connection to a deeper spiritual experience for these teens. In other words, it’s a good New Era article. Now, I’m not a pageant sort of person, but I do think this sort of thing is great for getting teens involved in something fun and for showing them that they’re part of something bigger than themselves.

You can view a video of these bagpipers in action at the New Era’s Web site, newera.lds.org.


Mormonad—Be Big

Mormonad—Be Big, Don't BelittleI rather like the Mormonad in the New Era this month. Its message is one that I wish more people (not just teenagers) would take to heart. The picture in the Mormonad shows a young boy and a teenage boy walking off of a soccer field. Presumably the younger boy has lost the game or played badly, but the older boy is putting his arm on the younger boy’s shoulder to comfort him rather than ridicule him.

Far too often we see people putting others down in order to build themselves up or just to be mean. There seems to be an entire genre of humor centered around clever, sardonic ridicule, and much of the Internet seems to thrive on it. I suppose politicians and other public figures are fair game (they asked for it, right?), but we should be aware of how our put-downs actually diminish our own stature.

For a good article on this topic, read “Is Anyone Laughing” in last February’s New Era.

The Healing Power of Hymns

In know that many people (particularly those who feel the need to express themselves in the bloggernacle) put down the Church’s hymns. Heck, I’ve got my own “Worst of the LDS Hymns” list stored safely in the folds of my gray matter somewhere, I suppose. But regardless of our personal musical tastes, it is undeniable that the hymns can have a powerful effect on people who are seeking comfort and healing in their lives. This fact is brought out in an article in this month’s Ensign. “The Healing Power of Hymns” is a collection of stories from Church members whose lives have been touched in some way by particular hymns.

I think we all could tell similar stories if we thought about it for a while. For instance, I once knew someone who told me that the hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” will always hold a special place in his heart because it was one of the first hymns he remembers singing and enjoying when his family was investigating the Church when he was a child. He recognizes that this hymn is probably not as musically excellent as other compositions such as Handel’s aria of the same name from the Messiah, but that doesn’t matter as much to him, because this was the hymn that first helped him gain a testimony of the Savior.

The hymn “More Holiness Give Me” expresses one of my heart’s desires, and though I don’t think it is one of the greatest compositions of all time, I always enjoy singing it because it reminds me of my “strivings within.” Does anyone else have a story to share?

Those Subversive Mormonads

A while back I read one blogger’s thoughts about Mormonads, and I rather believe he hit the nail on the head. He said, for instance, that “Mormonads pursue the subversion of the world. They remake it in their own image, and infuse its symbols with their own (sometimes very different) meanings. They are defiantly stodgy, unhip, and wholesome.” These are among the things that contribute to what he referred to as their “weird and transcendent genius.”
March 2008 Mormonad
I would simply like to offer this month’s Mormonad in the New Era as a good example of what this blogger, Matt B., was talking about. I can see it being universally labeled “lame” and yet still being put up on some teenage girl’s wall with absolute sincerity and belief in its message. What do you think?