Tag: LDS

Little Zions

Today was our stake conference, and we had a visiting general authority: Elder Terrence C. Smith, one of the North American Area Seventies. His talk was one of the finest, most doctrinally insightful sermons I’ve ever heard at a stake…

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.

President Hinckley and Mormon Memory

In Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero considers the decline of religious knowledge in America, much of which relates to the failure of institutions (family, school, church, university) to maintain a “chain of memory” that transmits religious knowledge from one generation to…

Under-Appreciated Hymns

When in the sultry glebe I faint, or on the thirsty mountain pant, To fertile vales and dewy meads, my weary, wandring steps he leads. Where peaceful rivers, soft and slow, amid the cooling verdant landscape flow.

Mormonism’s Poisoned Theodicy

Consider two theological claims. First, a severely mentally retarded child has her retardation because in the premortal world she was an exceptionally valiant spirit and her current disability means that all that was necessary was for her to receive a…

The Silent Core of Mormonism

Mormon theology and practice centers ultimately on the temple, and yet the temple is a subject on which Mormons are especially secretive and reticent. Therein lies one of the central ironies and challenges facing any Mormon trying to really explain…

“This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner”

I was delighted when Noah Feldman accepted my invitation to give the keynote address at Princeton’s Mormonism and American Politics conference because I knew he’d offer a thoughtful and sophisticated outsider’s perspective on these issues. His latest NYT piece, a…

Essential Differences

I recently read The Essential Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain (Basic Books, 2003) by Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of psychiatry at Cambridge University. Anyone interested in the source and nature of gender differences (i.e., everyone) will find…

A Pleasant Surprise

It seems 2008 has delivered its first miracle — the new Joseph Smith manual. Who would have thought that a correlated manual could actually be interesting? That’s doubly rewarding as the new Joseph Smith manual will be with us for…

José Smith

The Spanish-language scriptures use the name José Smith. This raises interesting questions: Which names do we choose to translate and which do we choose not to translate, and why?

Seeing Him

Because Adam asked, here’s my Santa Claus/Meaning-of-Christmas manifesto, originally written on my own blog three years ago. A brief update: our oldest daughter, mentioned below in this post, is now eleven, and while she is a joyful and spirited participant…

Religious Pragmatism

Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote, “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” [1] In various writings, he expanded that claim, contrasting a natural law approach to justifying legal and ethical rules of conduct with…

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…

Gadianton Robbers Among the Ancestors

In fall 2001 (vol. 27, pp. 125-149) the Journal of Mormon History published an article I wrote entitled “‘As Ugly as Evil’ and ‘As Wicked as Hell’: Gadianton Robbers and the Legend Process among the Mormons.” Let me share a…