Month: April 2013

Everything is a Remix, Genesis Edition: Intro


In this recent post (which I plan to revisit in the near future) and others, I mentioned the discovery of various ancient Near Eastern texts related to Genesis, such as Enuma Elish. The relationship between these accounts and Genesis has never been definitively settled, though dominant interpretive trends have been clear. At first, German scholars such as Friedrich Delitzsch, driven largely by Protestant bias against the Hebrew Bible and a good bit of anti-Semitism, seized on them as the original sources of Genesis, assuming the relevant bits had been taken more-or-less whole cloth from the Israelites neighbors. This undermined longstanding assumptions of their originality or uniqueness, easily conflated with claims of religious and/or revelatory value. (See “Babel and Bible” controversy.) Other scholars pushed back, particularly conservative scholars. Others came to recognize that claims of direct borrowing were highly overstated, and ignored important and significant differences. It is a rare scholar today who argues that Genesis has nothing to do with these other accounts. Positions run from (paraphrasing here) the far conservative position asserting the similarities are mostly coincidental or meaningless, and the differences matter most, to the “breathing the same air” or sharing a general worldview to “the editor of Genesis was intimately familiar with these accounts, and…

Socially Constructed Mormonism

This is the second post (see first post) discussing ideas presented in the recently published memoir of retired LDS sociologist Armand Mauss, Shifting Borders and a Tattered Passport: Intellectual Journeys of a Mormon Academic (Univ. of Utah Press, 2012; publisher’s page). After taking five years away from his graduate work to serve as a counselor in a bishopric, Mauss returned to his studies in 1962 at UC Berkeley, where he quickly encountered a serious challenge to his faith.

Established by Jesus Christ himself

In a recent news article discussing the Ordain Women community and its upcoming inaugural meeting, LDS church spokeswoman Jessica Moody stated that the male-only priesthood “was established by Jesus Christ himself and is not a decision to be made by those on Earth.” Of course, there may be a few questions about whether this statement is descriptively accurate, given those pesky Phoebe and Priscilla and Junia verses and whatnot. But let’s set those issues aside for a moment. Because theologically, it does make sense that we might want to follow Jesus’s example here. And factually, a few quirky anomalies aside, the Priesthood ordination pattern during Jesus Christ’s ministry is very, very clear: Jesus only ever ordained men. Jewish men. It’s very clear, folks. No women. And no Gentiles. Zero. And so if we want to follow the pattern set out during Christ’s ministry — well, I guess we ought to do the same. Of course this might be difficult news for some people to hear. For instance, some people might argue that there are important contributions which white men could make in the church, if they were eligible for ordination. Many white men are excellent organizers, and they might potentially…


This April we begin the month looking forward to what comes from 12 men and a few more. We will watch what they do and say, perhaps learning some lessons from them. We may disagree and perhaps even be disappointed in what they do. But we will watch, and what we see will inform how we see the next six months. One of these men has already made a strong statement this week, raising our expectations for this year. Will our expectations be met?

BYU to Announce New Honor Code!

At Times and Seasons, we’ve been given an exclusive sneak peek of the new Honor Code, and it promises exciting changes at our favorite university. Some of the changes include: 1. All men must wear a full beard at all time. Those unable to do so will be considered to be honoring the rule if they were an acceptable attire to offset the lack of beard. Such as: 2. To avoid controversy, all male/female clothing guidelines have been merged into one. Pants, tunic, and robe are required clothing at all times outside of dorm rooms. Example: 3. It has been determined that the Holy Ghost is getting old and goes to bed earlier than in the past. However, the Holy Ghost also sleeps in a lot later than was once believed. Consequently, the curfew has been moved from midnight to 9:30 and no classes will begin before 10:00am. 4. In order to more fully appreciate church history, all students will be required to adopt and go by D&C code names. Smiths, you are now Gazelam. Folks from Ogden may be Baneemy or Mahaleel. Football players are all Shalemanasseh or Shederlaomach, which should make for entertaining broadcasts. Idahoans will be called…

Strands of Priesthood

Many discussions about women and the priesthood get muddled because they don’t pay attention to the fact that “priesthood” involves multiple doctrines and practices, with different rationales, functions, and histories.  I thought it might be helpful if I separated the strands of priesthood and thought about them separately.