Monday, December 21, 2015

The Death of Santa Claus

I spent today listening to my children sing at their School Christmas event. Two of my children stood quietly without singing during the performance out of protest and I could not not be prouder. I had not asked them to behave in this manner but I am sure the values we have taught them bore a heavy influence in how they perceived the program in which they were participating. In general I keep posts on this blog limited to non controversial scholarship but on this occasion I want to explore the American phenomenon of Santa Claus and lay out my own beliefs on the matter.

Many of my friends have often inquired of either myself or my family members as to why our family does not participate in the Santa Claus tradition. While we try to be kind to our neighbors who hold other opinions, we do not participate in movies or songs that focus primarily on Santa, nor do we keep his icons in our home. Our children are explicitly told that he is not real and we do not approve of his inclusion in Christmas. If asked to participate in Santa related activities they usually respond with something to the effect of “We don't believe in Santa Claus and would prefer to not participate in the rituals of his faith.” Yes, my six year old really talks that way.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Astronomy and the Book of Mormon

The constellation Orion under very long exposure

Examining the use of astronomy in the Book of Mormon is very different from my previous post in that there is little depth that can be explored from a linguistic perspective nor is there much that can be said from a cultural perspective with any certainty. The native peoples of the Americas had a love of the night sky and they used astronomy in construction of sacred buildings, calendar systems, and as a didactic teaching device telling the various sacred stories of their people. In these things they were similar to the old world. However, it is not possible to identify which of these cultural ideas have a direct tie to Nephite and Lamanite society.