Sunday, March 20, 2011

Conference Reflections or "I'm gonna need more mace"

I'm mostly joking on the second half of the title. It was inspired from the famous line from Jaws where the character sees the shark and says "We're gonna need a bigger boat." I need a bit more time to digest to everything but here are a few of my thoughts.

Overall: The trip was great. No missed exits or reservation snafus. Claremont has a beautiful campus and the food was amazing. While the traffic was much better than I expected I still filled my ten year quota of a-hole, tailgating, weaving, flip me off while drinking a coffee and talking on a cell phone California drivers. On a much better note, if you want to see pictures of my Disney Land trip please add me on facebook.

My experience: My presentation went okay. I was extremely nervous so I stuttered a great deal. But I got better as I went on. It didn't help that Dr. Bushman was in the first row giving me a bad ass Ivy League stare. I heard an audible guffaw when I favorably compared Moroni's action against Amalickiah to Bush's removal of Saddam. During the question and answer period I could hear similar negative reactions.

My mom was just outside the door and overheard a participant leaving who said he "wondered how it didn't come to blows in there". Most of the pacifists must have avoided me but I received a dozen handshakes praising my presentation. (I did have somebody ask if I got a purple heart. Apparently my knees were more stiff from Disney Land than I thought.) I had so many people wanting to talk to me that I couldn't make it to the bathroom in between sessions. The best moments came from the recent graduate of the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth. He enjoyed my analysis and doctrinal commentary from The Book of Mormon. I had to laugh because he felt the need to clarify "doctrinal" as military doctrine instead of theology when I originally thought the former anyway. I also ran into Dr. Bushman, he shook my hand, told me he enjoyed my presentation and wanted to ask me a few questions about it. I didn't get a chance to hear those questions but I'm sure I will be involved in BoM studies for a long time so there is no hurry.

Conference thoughts: There were a great many pacifist presentations. In his opening comments Richard Bushman said the conference was designed to bring a greater voice to anti war forces. The views varied widely though. There were some that rejected all war while others that were fairly "pro war". "Pro war" is still misleading since those who support the Global War on Terror would rather live in peace.

I ran into several National Security practitioners who gave me their cards. I'm hoping it helps me get an analyst position. I will organize the notes I have and get you some academic posts as I catch up on all the work I missed while I was gone. Finally, the conference was videotaped and I overheard some of the grad students discussing the possibility of publishing the proceedings so I will let you know where you can find them. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mormons and the Civil War

In previous comments I discussed the rather unique history that Utah Mormons had with the Civil War. They felt the war was God's punishment against the nation that banished them but also sought entry into the United States and profited from the conflict. So right on cue I found a great website with a video that discusses some of those issues. You can find it here.