Author: Jonathan Green


Regina Spektor’s contribution to the underrepresented lyrical genre of speculative historical romance suggests, from the perspective of Delilah, that the story could have ended differently:

Did revelation cease?

It seems to me that Mormon discourse has two mutually contradictory ways of talking about revelation during the Middle Ages, and that neither view takes much notice of actual medieval views on the matter.

Dear Brandon Sanderson

A few months ago, Kaimi asked you a few questions about your experience as a Mormon author. You not only responded, but your answers were interesting and thoughtful. In fact, your answers suggested that you might just be the kind of author whose books I would enjoy. So I bought Mistborn.

Prayer and parascripture

‘Parascripture’ was the term Hugh Nibley used to refer to popular statements of religious sentiment that weren’t actually found in scripture, and that can sometimes be the vehicle for foreign ideas to find a home in a Mormon setting. An example in recent circulation is, “If you want to talk to God, pray; if you want God to talk to you, read the scriptures.”


That stands for “Historian In, Historian Out”–Times and Seasons bids farewell to one historian, Paul Reeve, and welcomes another, David Grua.

Orality, Literacy, Apostasy and Restoration

In the historiography of communication, orality refers to reliance on the spoken word as well as to the corresponding institutions and habits of mind, while literacy means not just the ability to read, but also the mental habits and social institutions that attend the use of writing, or more specifically the use of an alphabetic writing system, or the particular cognitive framework that has developed along with the alphabetic systems of Western Europe. The Mormon concept of a historical apostasy can be described in terms of orality and literacy. In fact, Brian Stock, an eminent historian of medieval literature, has already (if unintentionally) done just that

Sorting voices from the dust

When we read the Book of Mormon, whose voice do we think we are hearing? Trying to answer that question, I think, is one of the essential moves in a Mormon mode of interpretation. Consider, for example, 2 Nephi 2:17, where Lehi pauses to speculate on Lucifer’s origins:

Notes on Halloween

1. I don’t like Halloween. When we moved to Germany, I was looking forward to spending a couple years without interference from the least export-worthy American holiday celebration I can imagine. 2. Since I was last here, Halloween has been exported to Germany.

The Morning Star

We don’t often refer to Christ as the morning star, although there’s good scriptural precedent for the metaphor, and several 16/17th century Lutheran hymns (my particular target of religious envy) make use of it.

Only in the Mormon Church

When we first moved to our current ward, for an initial stay of only a year, I was asked to serve as a counselor in the elders quorum presidency before I had attended a single sacrament meeting here. A year ago, we returned to the same ward, and yesterday we discovered that that previous elders quorum president and my wife are eighth cousins. And all this time we had assumed we were the exceptions in a ward and stake where everyone seems to be related to each other.

We’re number 68!

BYU shot up over 50 places in the university rankings that were just released this week. Not in the US News and World Report rankings, where BYU continues to bounce around the 70s, but in the Washington Monthly rankings of universities’ based on their contributions to society, where BYU went from 124 to 68, right between Loyola Chicago and Brown.

Suggestions for expatriate Mormons

I don’t know of any Americans planning to move into my ward soon. If there were any, I wish they would understand a few things from the outset. (If you’re contemplating a foreign assignment in an industrial nation, some of this might apply to your situation as well.)

Brigham Young and the history of reading in the West

Brigham Young’s condemnation of novel reading during the last two decades of his life is a perfect example of a much-studied moment in the history of reading, the hypothesized “reading revolution” of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But the peculiar trajectory of Brigham Young’s attitude, from wary tolerance of novel reading to blanket combination of it,[1] is unusual.

Before the cradle

There are songs that make me feel that God is all and I am nothing, and that God has given me everything and I deserve none of it, although that is far too precise and theological a description for an experience that is almost entirely pre-rational.

A German mirror on Mormons in American religion and politics

Gerhard Spörl, reporter for Der Spiegel, surely did not have an easy task. After his editors at the finest German-language news weekly on the planet took notice of a German Mormon apostle and a Mormon candidate for the U.S. presidency, they gave Spörl the responsibility for interviewing Dieter Uchtdorf, visiting the church offices in Frankfurt, and trying to explain Mormons and their religion to a million German readers (article in English translation here).

Living in the limelight

Sometime on or before November 4, 2008, the Romney campaign is going to tank. (Dwelling too long on the possibility that he won’t tank is not good for the cardiac health of both his supporters and his opponents, so we’ll ignore that possibility for now.) After the Romney candidacy is no more, how are we Mormons going to make people notice us?