Monday, February 13, 2006

According to Theory


All apologies for the two weeks or so that have gone by without a post. I've been busy doing lit reviews and trying to figure out what theoretical approach I'll be taking on my field study, and reading is not my forte. That comes as a surprise to a lot of people, but I got tested and it turns out I'm in the tenth percentile among college seniors for reading rate. That's not the top 10 percent, either; that means 90 percent of college seniors read faster than I do! So getting through academic articles has never been easy for me, especially when they're so concentrated on theory, and this lit review has really done a number on the amount of time I've been able to dedicate to the blog - let alone to my other coursework!

What that means, though, is that I'll be posting a 1000- or 2000-word lit review on the blog for anyone to review, something I'm not sure is a good idea but that I'm just going to do anyway. I'll probably host it as a Word document, or maybe just a text file, on my BYU webpub space and put a link on the blog. It probably won't be very interesting reading unless you're into the theory thing - and my interest there is, it seems, growing.

Saturday four other students from the group going to India - the other three who're going to Dharamsala plus one who's going to Tamil Nadu - went up to Salt Lake to the House of Tibet, a restaurant on 1300 South with excellent food and friendly people. We're really coming together, our group, and the time we spent together eating momos and noodles and curry was a time for us to talk about issues we don't get to bring up in our preparation course like how we'll conduct church and what we'll be sleeping on and how much clothing we should take. We're becoming good friends, and after the meal we drove around SLC relaxing to some nice music and looking at all the interesting houses and pretty neighborhoods.

On an almost completely unrelated note, I finally did cut my hair this weekend so as to comply with the BYU Dress and Grooming Standards. (Now I look more like this than this.) I'm okay with that, though I must say I have some serious concerns about the way that too many Mormons (and I am a pretty darn faithful Mormon) have taken things like BYU's Dress and Grooming Standards or the LDS missionary dress code and turned them into doctrine, meaning that lack of compliance with them means a reduced influence of the Holy Ghost in one's life.
One girl I know, rather recently home from an LDS mission, gave me a big thumbs-up of approval when she saw that I'd gotten my long hair cut, and that's exactly the reaction I was dreading. It seems obvious to me that LDS folks should realize long hair does not mean disobedience to God's laws. Jesus, from what we get in artists' renditions, had long hair, and Samson was even commanded not to cut his hair. So length of hair simply cannot be a universal evil. It must then be something else, something I've come to understand as just a cultural norm reinterpreted as a doctrinal or dogmatic practice. Or rather, a cultural norm misinterpreted.