This past Friday and Saturday I attended a very enjoyable conference at Southern Virginia University, co-sponsored by Mormon Scholars in the Humanities and the Mormon Scholars Foundation.
Faith and fame aren’t always an easy mix, but Mormons who hit the big time seem to be able to hold it together most of the time. At least that’s the thrust of “How Mormons Deal With Fame” at the LDS Newsroom, discussing, among other names we all recognize, the 17-year-old phenom David Archuleta.
There’s a really good conversation about food storage over at MMW and I want to throw one more idea out there, because it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that the best place to do my food storage buying was the most expensive grocery store in town.
Do these concepts have anything to do with each other? Apparently some Mormons think they do, hence Davis Bitton’s corrective essay “How Dark Were the Dark Ages?” (conveniently reposted at Meridian Magazine).
Today is Whitsunday on the Christian liturgical calendar, a holiday in honor of the Day of Pentecost. Not quite four years ago, in June of 2005, I wrote something about the gifts demonstrated on that day, and about those–decidedly less spetacular–gifts which I believe I have. I’m somewhat proud of it; I think it is one of the more honest things I’ve ever written about myself. The text is below; you might want to check out the comments on the original post as well.
And for thousands of Latter-day Saints who will be delivering a Mother’s Day talk tomorrow, it is looming large. Expectations are high and scriptural sources are limited.
There’s a reasonable chance that all efforts to situate the Book of Mormon over the last 180 years, geographically, culturally, and chronologically, are based on the Nephite version of the Donation of Constantine. But first, let’s talk about Odin.
If one more Mormon tells me to see Expelled, I am going to scream.
Read and discuss.
Gertrud Specht had been a searcher her whole life before she found what she was looking for
Chapters 9 and 10 of Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again deal with purported photographs of Joseph Smith, including the Scannel daguerreotype.
According to various news outlets the Catholic Church has ordered its dioceses to not allow Mormons access to parish registers any more. For decades, our Church has copied and preserved millions of pages of parish registers around the world, as part of the injunction to seek out ancestors and perform ordinances in their behalf. There are probably still millions of pages out there, uncopied.
An old friend of mine (a former bishop, for whatever that’s worth) whom I keep in touch with by e-mail has spent much of the past decade working for the U.S. government in different capacities in Russia and Ukraine. In response to some recent news items regarding limits on visas to the former Soviet Union, I asked him to comment on how the church and the missionary program is fairing there. This is what he has to say. For security reasons, he asked that I post it without his name attached.
How do ‘we’ as Mormons learn to view ‘others’? We can try to answer this question from the angle of various approaches to the concept of “gospel culture”.
1848 was a year of turmoil in Europe, with revolutions in France and Italy and Sicily and Germany and Poland and Romania and Moldavia and … and … and … the list seems nearly endless.
Like many people dependent upon care from others, M can be a tyrant. For instance, sensing my anxiousness during her feedings, when itâ€™s crucial to get enough into her to sustain her plus stimulate her slow growth curve, sheâ€™s begun extorting favors. Sometimes sheâ€™ll demand to watch her favorite video over and over or else she wonâ€™t eat. She wrings the last drop of pleasure out of these viewings then collapses back into boredom. Then she grows irritable and stops eating again. Do something to entertain me, she pouts, or Iâ€™ll starve myself.
2 August 1888: Elder Alma P. Richards, ten months into his missionary service and working without a companion, stopped at a hotel in Meridian, Mississippi and made arrangements with a porter to keep some books and clothing until the elderâ€™s return, expected to be a few days later. Richards, on foot, left Meridian to visit friends just over the state line in Jasper County, Alabama. He was never heard from again.
The Book of Mormon poses a thorny problem for assumptions about the history of scriptural texts, especially if it isn’t true
Noah Millman concedes that the science of evolution is not incompatible with the truth of Christianity. But, he argues, the myth of evolution is incompatible with the myth of Christianity. I think science does have implications for the persuasiveness of specific religious doctrines, simply as a psychological matter. And I think evolution through natural selection is extremely uncongenial to the central Christian story about the nature of sin and evil in the world. Why? Because the Christian story has the entry of strife into the world come about as the result of human sin, whereas the core idea behind evolution by natural selection is that our existence â€“ and the consciousness and ability to sin that comes with it â€“ is a product of strife. Put bluntly: natural selection is not the mechanism that the Christian deity would use to create man in His image. Or, if it is, Iâ€™d like to see the explanation.
I didn’t blog about it at the time, although I thought about it. But now it’s up on You Tube, so here goes.
I have been listening to the papers that were presented at the recent conference of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology. At the conference there was a presentation on that perennial favorite, finisitist Mormon theodicies, in this case a nicely nuanced comparison of Mormon thinking with the process theology of David Griffin. I was disappointed, however, that the authors didn’t more squarely face the two strongest objections to Mormon finitist theodicies. Indeed, I have yet to see what I think of as adequate responses to either of these issues.
The Third Commandment tells us not to take the Lord’s name in vain. And for some reason, this practice has become strongly ingrained in Mormon social norms — I can easily name a dozen Mormons who cuss like sailors and drop “F-bombs” regularly, but who would never dream of injecting a “God” or “Lord” into the sentence. But are we really getting it right? Is “God” really the Lord’s name, or is it just a title? And what exactly does the third commandment proscribe?
If you’re not a subscriber to BYU Studies (why not?), make haste to the bookstore and pick up a copy of the latest edition. It’s a nearly 200-page chronology of Joseph Smith’s life (transcribing the chronology available online at josephsmith.byu.edu ). In the print version, events are color-coded by category as well as being listed by date. To call this compilation “extremely useful” would be a vast understatement. Simply put, this is a tool that every member should have access to. The information has been available for some time online (in a relatively little known spot), but putting in in book form makes it much more accessible. You should pick extra copies up for your bishop, your father-in-law (*may not apply to John F. or Rosalynde), your home teaching companion. It’s gold. It’s very rare to see this combination of scholarship and information, on the one hand, with a presentation that is this accessible to everyday members. Kudos to the…
Most people with even a general sense of the Mormon pioneers are familiar with their “roadometer,” a set of cog wheels fastened to a wagon wheel, which measured and recorded distance traveled without the need for a human observer to count the revolutions of the wheel.
A new book written by two Evangelical Christians supports many of the views of Latter-day Saints about the apostacy from First Century Christianity. Frank Viola and George Barna have collaborated on an updated and expanded version of one of Viola’s earlier books, and titled it Pagan Christianity.
A sister in Relief Society told us this morning of having toured Salt Lake’s then-newly renovated Cathedral of the Madeleine
There was an interesting post in September 2007 about a Dialogue article discussing the usual interpretation of the flood of Noah as being scientifically implausible. A couple of comments touched upon, but did not fully explicate, the way that the scriptures of the Restored Gospel and other insights from Joseph Smith can suggest a more scientifically feasible interpretation of Noahâ€™s flood.
About 15 years ago I wrote a short piece for a Sunstone Symposium panel on the topic of Mormons in the Military. It was focused on my personal experiences as a Latter-day Saint dealing with the armed forces rules on religion and the chaplains specifically. A number of things have developed since then, so it seems worthwhile to revisit the topic and elicit readers’ own experiences.
As the Churchâ€™s membership has become predominantly non-American and non-English speaking, the question of how to construct a Mormon ethnic identity within the wide variety of existing cultures worldwide has become a present concern for millions of Latter-day Saints.
This week while we’re hearing lurid tales from Tom Green County, Texas, it is worthwhile to remember exactly how ugly were the lies once printed about our own people, some of them told unashamedly by federal appointees and officers of the 19th century court.