Category: General Doctrine

12 Questions for Marvin Perkins, Part One

Marvin Perkins has graciously agreed to answer a few questions from Times & Seasons. Brother Perkins is a Latter-day Saint music producer who is currently the Public Affairs Co-chair for the Genesis Group and who has worked to nurture understanding between African Americans and Latter-day Saints and attack misconceptions. As part of this effort, he has appeared on CNN, among other places. In late 2007, Brother Perkins and former Genesis Group President Darius Gray put out a DVD entitled “Blacks in the Scriptures” that contains four lecture-style scriptural presentations on Blacks and the Bible, Skin Color, Curses, Equality, Priesthood and Blacks as well as a historical look at Blacks and the LDS Priesthood.

Optimal Tithing

Suppose that we had a base 8 system instead of base 10, perhaps because, in this hypothetical world, we had 8 fingers rather than 10. Would we pay 1/8 our increase, or do you think it would still be one tenth? Or, to reverse causality, what are the chances we have ten fingers so that we’d develop a base 10 system that would make it easier to count out our tithing?

What Does My Lack of Personal Trials Say About Me?

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I should talk about in my inaugural post on this blog.  Quite honestly, when I agreed to do a stint as a guest blogger, I thought it would be pretty easy.  But, lately, it seems that all my Mormonism-related thoughts have been trite and meaningless.  For example, I considered drafting a post complaining about one of the teachers Elders Quorum and his refusal to teach out of the manual.  But, honestly, I think that post would have just ended up being a rant about a quorum discussion outlining the evils of facial hair (true story, by the way) and I don’t think that’s what the faithful readers of this blog are looking for. 

Compassion for the Unworthy

Can I remind us of something? The rhetoric here and elsewhere on the bloggernacle, the Internet, and evidently in the personal lives of some of us, seems all too often to be based on the idea that there is a worthiness test for compassion.

Four sources of the Apocalypse

With the past two months, I have read — for various reasons — four different novels laying out apocalyptic events within the United States. Here are the novels, in the order I read (or re-read) them, and with the reasons why I read them: — Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1977): a comet fragments and strikes the Earth in numerous places, collapsing much of world civilization, including the United States. I’ve read this several times before; I saw it cited on a blog (Samizdata) in a discussion on “the best end-of-the-world novels”  and decided to dig it out and read it again.

I’ve Seen All Good People

We know there are good times and bad times, but are there good people and bad people? Common sense says yes, as does virtue ethics, a branch of philosophical ethics that attempts to identify virtues worth having and tell good people how to get them. Alas, the story is not quite so simple.

Breathing the Breath of God

Genesis (2:7) says that God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils. Is our life a portion of God’s? Jesus quoted a Psalm (82:6) that said, “Ye are gods,” when confronted about his claims to divinity. Mormons are usually not so bold, but there is certainly an element in our tradition that states that humans are children of God, like godlings, capable of developing into gods. Is this idea arrogant or humbling? It depends.

Ecumenically Missing?

I came across a news item (here and here) this morning that gives background on the 25 members of the President’s Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and it made me wonder a little about LDS participation in this kind of group. Shouldn’t there be a Mormon on this council?

Sunday Afternoon Session Notes

Here’s a few thoughts on Sunday Afternoon’s session of conference. We encourage everyone to take notes during each session and post their thoughts in comments here.

Priesthood Session Notes

Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Afternoon’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also.

Saturday Afternoon Session Notes

Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Afternoon’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also.

Saturday Morning Session

Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Morning’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also.

Garment Rights?

Do we have a right to wear garments? If we do, how far does that right go? What , kind of right is it? Is it a human right? Or a legal one that might disappear and reappear as we pass national boundaries?

Faith and Healing

“And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed. He who hath faith to see shall see. He who hath faith to hear shall hear. The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.” (D&C 42:48-51)  

The Totality of Mortality

When I picked up my manual to prepare to teach Gospel Doctrine this Sunday, I figured it would be a lesson about the spirit of Elijah (second week = section 2 = turning hearts, etc). I was surprised and delighted to find that Lesson 2 is instead about the atonement, highlighting powerhouse passages in Doctrine & Covenants sections 19, 76, 88, and 93. While reading the material I was reminded of a favorite quote from Chieko Okazaki on the topic and had a hankering to share it.

The Slaughter of the Innocents

After the wise men came, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

Hugs and Kisses

It’s holiday season, which means more friends and family and greetings, in person or otherwise, than usual. Add to that a few weddings receptions and you can get downright sore from all the hugging and hand-wrenching. Not to mention confused by the vast array of possibilities for saying hello or goodbye or Merry Christmas or Happy New Year to someone. It’s enough to make even the most seasoned anthropologist dizzy.

The Gospel and Immigration

A High Priest I know is in crisis. He is an immigrant who, like many other Church members, came to the US without a visa, according to what I understand of the situation. After arriving here he joined the Church, and eventually fell in love and married a U.S. Citizen, a wonderful, faithful Church member. This situation would normally put him on track for a green card and U.S. citizenship. But this brother is facing deportation, and his ward and stake are praying for a miracle that will keep him here in the United States.

Compassion and Creativity

Most everyone I’ve talked to loved President Uchtdorf’s talk at the General Relief Society Broadcast. But I have a question (and yes, men, this is for you, too—since I assume that as a son of God, you also get joy in following the Father’s example of creation and compassion):

Unsubstantiated Rumor #2

Over at MAD-Board, there is rumor about a policy change, to the effect that women may now be sealed to more than one (deceased) husband (just as men may now be sealed to more than one deceased wife). Can anyone confirm or un-confirm this one?