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Hi I'm Allan

I'm a graduate student in theatre history studying religion and performance. I'm a feminist & I enjoy sardonic humor. I'm a Mormon

About Me

Regarding education, I have a BA in American Studies and an MA in Theatre History and Criticism. Both degrees are from BYU. Now I'm a PhD student in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland. I wrote my thesis on Hell Houses (Evangelical Christian haunted houses), but I'm trying to decide what my dissertation topic will be. Fun things to know: First, I really enjoy podcasts. Among my favorites are This American Life, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, On Being, and The Moth. I'm also a big fan of the religion podcasts. Mormon Matters is not only one of the best online forums for Mormonism, but it's also a source of rich nourishment for my soul. Second, I've never met a Joss Whedon show I didn't like. He's the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Whedon's emblematic of my personality. His shows are witty, clever, and deliciously dark. Shows like Daria, Pushing Daises, and Wonderfalls were staples for me growing up; I watched a lot of TV. Third, theatre is a big deal. I read plays, research their history, and write papers about it. I intend to teach at the college level. I've taught a few college classes before. In production, I've worked as a dramaturg. My responsibilities have ranged, but I have helped select scripts for production, cut scripts for length, cast shows, collaborated with directors, and provided research for actors and designers. In one case, I performed. I like cooking, camping, and contributing to a blog called Expert Textperts.

Why I am a Mormon

Why am I a Mormon? Good question. I ask myself frequently. "Because I know without a doubt that it's the absolute Truth" tends not to be the answer I come to. I understand that's how others express their spirituality; it's the way I expressed my beliefs as an LDS missionary. But the model of I pondered, prayed, and now KNOW it's True ... well, I like the model but spirituality works with more ambiguity in my life. That last part about KNOWing, that's not how I relate to my faith. So then, why am I a Mormon? One way I can answer that is by expressing how living as a Mormon has been challenging. Don't worry, I'm not confessing. In fact, when it comes to a "typical" Mormon lifestyle--you know: no alcohol/smoking/coffee, go to church every Sunday, refrain from premarital sex--I actually have no problem with any of that. I enjoy the lifestyle. What was hard, what is hard, has to do with living with a faith that invites people to live a more excellent way, devoting their lives to Christ, and then promising that when people do they will be blessed and made better. The hard part comes when one realizes that Mormons and the LDS Church are not always leading the way in correcting things that prevent us from living in better harmony. There remains troubling strains of sexism, racism, homophobia, and pride not only in the world but also in the tradition that I love and that taught me to love. I ask, if Mormons are a chosen people, why are they not a better people in these things? Thus, I doubt. So why am I a Mormon? Because I believe in believing and hoping. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always invited me to foster an abiding faith in the principles of Jesus Christ. It's a rich gospel that can transform and improve lives. I am a Mormon because I have faith in the power of the invitations to exercise faith. I believe in the testimonies of a living God. I believe in working as a human family to learn from one another and to be better people.

How I live my faith

This might sound like an odd answer, but I live my faith primarily in two almost diametrically opposed ways. On one hand, I live as a Mormon in nourishing the relationships that are in my life, namely those of my closest friends and associates, according to the principles of Jesus Christ. I have learned these principles, in part, through scripture study and church attendance, but more frequently in the act of having those friendships. I have learned to be a better person, believe I can be a better person, learn what it is to be a good person from people I see as types of Christ in my daily walk. It is in learning of the goodness in men and women that I come to believe in our divine origins and potential. Living as a Mormon for me is about enjoying such associations and finding the good that others have to share. What's the other side of the coin? What's the other way that I live my faith? I spend time with people in a community that I have little in common with and find that I disagree with more often than not. Going to church for me is an act of faith. There are times I have been frustrated and not understood why I continue to participate in a tradition which I find myself ethically opposed to at times. But I believe and I go. I disagree with things, but that's the voice I can contribute, the faith I can express. And my association with people that I would otherwise not surround myself with requires me to open my eyes, to find the goodness that is in men and women that I would not know if not for a common religion. And in these associations as well I can seek a goodness which testifies of Christ. In other nuts and bolts terms, I live my faith through the lifestyle that I have adopted as explained above. I tithe 10 percent of my income. I strive to pray and read from the scriptures daily. In the past, I have taught Sunday School classes; now I coordinate the efforts of other teachers. I do what I can to help others in their respective church responsibilities.

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

As Joseph Smith was gathering believers and organizing the church, there was a trend in American Religion known as Restorationism. At the time many denominations were based in sectarian theologies; seminaries were set up with conflicting arguments and detailed definitions for concepts like grace, works, faith, etc. Restorationists rejected the notion of learned men. It wasn't knowledge that mattered: it was about experiencing truth. Restorationists didn't search the scriptures for theology; they doubted man could adequately convey the mysteries of God. Instead, they searched the scriptures to learn how Christ's New Testament church lived so they could enjoy the manifestations of the gifts of the spirit. One Restorationist group was led by Sidney Rigdon. The group was primarily located in Ohio and were particularly interested in the restoration of the organization of the church described in Ephesians 4. When this group--who were already seeking for prophets, visions, and administering angels--met Joseph Smith, it was a match made in heaven. It's possible that the LDS Church has 12 Apostles today because these early converts so desired the restoration of 12 apostles. Joseph Smith sought for the will of God, goodness, and truth in all things. He boldly claimed that Mormonism claims for itself the truth found in all other faiths. We are responsible for finding, inviting, and integrating more truths that we might continue to have blessings like the restoration of 12 Apostles. Show more Show less