Some links you may be interested in

  • Over at Energetic Procession, Perry Robinson offers a critique of Keith E. Norman’s dissertation on deification.
  • Richard N. Ostling, co-author of Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, has published an article in Christianity Today on the recent state of LDS-evangelical dialogue. (H/T: Todd Wood)
  • Aquinas has offered a critique of Ostling’s piece at Summa Theologica. (H/T: Todd again)
  • Are Mormons taking cues from the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood in defending their gender system? Embodying Womanhood sure strikes me as CBMW for Mormons. My personal disagreements with the philosophy aside, I think it’s a well-done site and I’m pleased to see defenders of the status quo exploring new ways of grappling with these issues.
  • And last but not least, be sure to pick up your copy of the “Hot Mormon Muffins: A Taste of Motherhood” calendar, which has just been released. Calendar creator Chad Hardy may be a rabble-rouser and an attention whore, but he certainly isn’t objectifying women any more than the LDS church did with its 1969 Improvement EraCalendar of Hope.” Guess payback’s a [expletive deleted because this is a Christian blog].
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About Bridget Jack Jeffries

Bridget Jack Jeffries is a human resources professional living in Chicago. She holds a BA in classics from Brigham Young University with a minor in Hebrew and an MA in American religious history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church and a single mother of two. You can read more of her writings at www.Weighted-Glory.com.

16 thoughts on “Some links you may be interested in

  1. A few random comments on the above:

    * Ostling was uncharacteristically sloppy in a few of his characterizations of LDS doctrine, and the editors at Christianity Today didn’t know enough to fix the errors. Otherwise, I found it an interesting article.

    * I can’t put my finger on it, but I found the Embodying Womanhood site to seem incredibly — for lack of a better word here — Protestant in its approach and outlook. I’m not sure how I can phrase it better than that. Until I saw the LDS-oriented links, I thought it was an evangelical site. It seems like it’s taking the traditional evangelical complementarian viewpoint and wrapping it in LDS terminology. I’m not sure I could objectively defend this analysis; it’s just the impression I had when I first came across it.

    * I think the calendar is silly. But so are the objections to it.

  2. Okay, Mormons, I need your help. I have to prepare to give my testimony in my formation group on Thursday. The floor is mine for 20 minutes. I figure I’ll talk for 12 minutes and allow questions and discussion for 8.

    How do I prepare a talk? I’m mostly interested in how long 12 minutes of talking is on paper. You’re the experts on amateur hour speaking.

    (I’d rather bury the question in comments somewhere than do a post about it on my blog…)

  3. It’s what you get used to.

    After about a year of becoming accustomed to the Japanese face and manner, I found Japanese women extremely attractive.

    When I came back, American women seemed a little “off” to me for a while.

    But I got over that soon enough as well.

  4. BJM:

    Okay, Mormons, I need your help. I have to prepare to give my testimony … How do I prepare a talk? I’m mostly interested in how long 12 minutes of talking is on paper.

    I haven’t given talks all that often (it’s been about two years since the last), so I’m not sure how long a talk is on paper. I’m thinking something like five pages, double-spaced for a 20-minute talk, but I could be way off. Usually I write everything in a word processor and then give the talk a practice run or two. Whatever I’ve done, most of the time I end up having more talk than time and have to cut it short. So I decide ahead of time what I can leave out if I have to.

    Sometimes I’ve just written an outline, but it usually goes better if I write out the whole talk.

    Usually I have an introduction and about three main points. Much more than that is too many for listeners to remember, and I’ve never had the problem of not being able to come up with more than two.

    Once I decide what my main points are, I look for scripture to back them up. 🙂 I’m being a little bit flip here, but less so than I’d care to admit. Anyway, I do try to support the points while keeping the outline of my talk clear. Scriptures, personal experiences, anecdotes, statements by church leaders, statements by non-LDS folks and other sorts of things can all be used.

    At the end there’s a summary and closing.

    I did some competitive speech way back when in school, and I’ve also done Toastmasters, so talks come fairly natural to me. I actually enjoy having the opportunity to speak.

    If I were making my testimony into a talk, I’d probably do it chronologically, although that’s not the only way. My main points would be something like how I came to believe in Jesus as my savior, how I decided to join the Church, and how my faith has been strengthened.

    For me, the main thing is not to try to say too much. It’s better to leave the audience wanting more.

    And one thing to never do, even though in the LDS context way too many people do it: Don’t start out by saying how much you don’t like to give talks. As a listener, the last thing I want to be told is why I shouldn’t listen to you.

  5. I’d suggest prepping enough material for 20 minutes full.

    The QA time idea is fine, and you should stick with it. But you never know if your group is going to be a bunch of duds and not ask anything. Be ready to talk the whole time, even if you don’t plan to. Keeping a few personal anecdotes in reserve that you don’t plan to use in the main speech should do the trick.

    Another pet-peeve in Sacrament Meeting talks is when the person gets up there and tells us the details of how the bishop sprung this speaking assignment on them and how they don’t feel up to it. Humility is OK, but a quick acknowledgment and then moving on is fine.

  6. I’d also try to avoid being too in-your-face about having a Mormon husband. I know Mormons can get their hackles up when they sense belligerence, and I imaging Evangelicals aren’t much different.

    Last tip –

    Last talk I gave, I had a bunch of preaching prepped. But while waiting my turn, I took a deep breath, looked out at the faces, and asked God to help me not say something insensitive, and to help me see these wonderful people the way he sees them, and to help me have compassion on them and speak in love.

    My wife tells me that the result was a completely different talk than the one I rehearsed to her. It’s just my own feeling, but I think God stepped in and picked my words for me to some small extent. It was a better talk for that.

    So, don’t forget prayer. God will do a better job on this talk than I will.

  7. I think I totally need to find a way to use the second frame from this comic panel as a visual aid.

    Eric ~ Sometimes I’ve just written an outline, but it usually goes better if I write out the whole talk.

    It’s a group of about 15-20 students. We’ve been meeting once a week since the beginning of the semester. Since it’s a small and informal meeting, I don’t want to read from a prepared talk the entire time; I think I’d rather just prepare an outline and practice it once or twice on my husband so that I know what I’m going to say. If I were speaking for a larger group like sacrament meeting, it’d be another story.

    And for the record, other than speaking in F&T meeting for 2-3 minutes at a time, I don’t think I’ve spoken in public since 2004. Also, everyone in the class has to do this, and I volunteered to go on this day, so I can’t really do the Sacrament meeting thing and wax on about how reluctant I was to do the talk, but the Spirit of God compelled me.

    Thank you for the advice, I will keep it in mind.

    Seth ~ The QA time idea is fine, and you should stick with it. But you never know if your group is going to be a bunch of duds and not ask anything. Be ready to talk the whole time, even if you don’t plan to.

    Good idea. Will do.

    I’d also try to avoid being too in-your-face about having a Mormon husband.

    Oh, so you mean I shouldn’t have brought him to the very first meeting where he went off about how wrong evangelicals are? 😉

    I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to cover the Mormon husband thing. They’re already more than aware of his existence, but people are usually surprised to learn that I’m not an ex-Mormon and I was a Christian when I married him. Being married to an unbeliever because you converted while your spouse didn’t is understandable. Being married to an unbeliever because you made that decision as a believer is much harder to justify.

    I know that Mormons aren’t necessarily unbelievers on this blog, but to the average evangelical they are.

    It’s just my own feeling, but I think God stepped in and picked my words for me to some small extent. It was a better talk for that.

    That’s a sweet story, Seth. Thanks for sharing it. It’s nice to see the spiritual Mormon side of you rather than the gloomy demi-apologist lawyer side of you for a change.

  8. I’m naturally combative by nature. When I wrote home during my mission, I almost always detailed my gripes, and how a mission didn’t live up to the shining stereotype we’re all fed in seminary. Cynical little twerp would be a good descriptor.

    I rarely included any of the positive experiences I was having on my mission – and I did have them.

    Poor mom and dad.

  9. I rarely included any of the positive experiences I was having on my mission – and I did have them.

    Poor mom and dad.

    Well, it could have been worse. At least you weren’t writing naughty letters to girls back home.

  10. Jack: GA’s give 10-minute talks in General Conference, so if you want to see what a Mormon 10-min talk looks like, grab the Ensign. The problem, however, is that they generally speak really slow—you’ll likely speak almost twice as fast, especially if you’re nervous (which it sounds like you are, but see below).

    As for the outline versus reading word-for-word, here’s a nice compromise that can save you in a pinch:

    Write the outline in bold, one sentence beginning each paragraph and write out the paragraph word-for-word. If you get up and and feel “fluid” enough, then you can just glance down at the bolded sentences (the outline) and do fine, but if you have a hard time getting into the flow of your testimony, or if you get a bit stuck partway through, then you still have your script to fall back on.

    One thing that can save you a lot of trouble—both in terms of speaking too fast and running out of material and in terms of having a nice flow to your talk—is to actually pay attention to what you’re saying. I know: that sounds obvious, but most speakers who prepare and practice their words ahead of time fall into the “recitation trap” even if they’re not reading from a script. The solution is to place yourself in the audience (so to speak) when you talk so that your ears really listen to what your mouth says. You’ll find that:

    a) you speak slower
    b) you remember what you’re planning to say next because it will make sense, in your ears, to go in that direction
    c) you have greater confidence in your message because you’ll hear it making sense as you go
    d) your audience understands better because it’s easier to listen to a human than a robot

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