In his new book, Claiming Christ, Professor Robert Millet, in dialogue with Evangelical scholar Gerald McDermott about the commonalities and differences of Mormonism and the varieties of Evangelical Christianity, makes the observation that the notion of labeling Latter-day Saints as â€œnot Christianâ€ is a fashion that became widespread only about twenty years ago.
While watching last weekendâ€™s General Conference, with the sustaining of President Monson and the calling of new people into Church leadership, one of the things I felt is how fortunate the Church is to have as its leaders men and women who have achieved significantly in many walks of life. This is in contrast to most other denominations, where people with these skills would be excluded from formal church leadership. For example, what other church has attorneys in its most senior leadership?
Mormon Studies has become a relic area for outdated ideas about texts and their transmission. That becomes clear in reading a number of contributions to Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy (FARMS, 2005)
Ardis Parshall has presented in previous postings â€œThe CSI Effect and Mormon Historyâ€, 3/20/2008, and â€œAnd Yet Another Joseph Smith Photograph”, 4/1/2008, arresting images that have, at first glance, an arguable relationship to our known historical depictions of the Prophet Joseph Smith, but turn out, on further research, to have no chance of being what we wish they were. In commenting on Ardisâ€™ second post (#14, #48), I pointed out the reasons why there are likely to be a great many old images that resemble our mental image of the Prophet, and why it would be extremely difficult to verify any of them as a real image of Joseph.
“Change for the better can come to all. Over the years we have issued appeals to the less active, the offended, the critic, the transgressor â€” to come back. ‘Come back and feast at the table of the Lord and taste again the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints.’ In the private sanctuary of one’s own conscience lies that spirit, that determination to cast off the old person and to measure up to the stature of true potential. In this spirit, we again issue that heartfelt invitation. Come back, we reach out to you in the pure love of Christ and express our desire to assist you and to welcome you into full fellowship.
Since Kaimi was kind enough to link to it, I thought I’d elaborate a bit on some comments of mine which Peggy Fletcher Stack used in her excellent article summarizing the accomplishments of President Hinckley, and the opportunities and challenges facing President Monson. It would be interesting to hear more from some of the other sources she made use of in putting her piece together (Melissa Proctor, Ronan Head, etc.), but for now, here is at least a little bit the context of my remarks.
Mormon belief in an early Christian apostasy suggests a couple of historiographic projects that are, I think, doomed to failure, but there might be an alternative
This is a big week for Mormon Studies on the Wasatch Front, with events at the University of Utah, Utah Valley State College, Westminster College, and BYU.
The following is part of a larger study on the concept of “gospel culture”, which I have been working on. In a previous post I presented the question “How American is the Church?”, which yielded very interesting comments. For the present post I excerpted some further parts on culture and Mormon identity, with various questions to the reader.
Actually, it’s more like the Intermountain Cornhuskers, or the Mormon Maccabees
As we’re all told in Sunday School, “Gospel” means “good news.” And it’s certainly good news that T&S emeritus (and current BCC) blogger Kristine Haglund is going to be taking over as editor of Dialogue.
[This post was originally put up on Holy Saturday, April 7, 2007. I thought about putting up something different this year, but I couldn’t think of anything that can approach the beauty of this essay. Enjoy]
Television police dramas are so popular that they have come to influence the American legal system — or so say believers in the “CSI Effect.”
No, it isn’t. Which means that defining an early Christian apostasy as the loss of priesthood authority doesn’t tell us anything, even in a Mormon framework, about the apostasy as a historical event
[Revised from the Archives.] The Garden of Eden story doesn’t have a point.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the seemingly secular things that I’ve come to hold sacred, whether they be songs, books, films, works of art, or even places. My spiritual regard for these things is often rooted in my own experience, yet, I also believe that I’ve come to appreciate many of them in a spiritual sense because they broach truth in their own right. Brigham Young once said “The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this church” (JD 11:375).
Our Sunday School class opened this morning with a discussion of the “generals in the war in heaven” nonsense that the Church is trying so hard to quash.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, don’t forget to check out Sunstone West this weekend. Tonight’s program includes a showing of Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, and tomorrow’s program includes a list of speakers and presentations on some interesting-sounding topics. I hope to see some of you there.
My father used to point to the ceiling in our living room and claim he could still see a dent made by my head as I jumped up in excitement over discovering that my call was to the Switzerland Geneva Mission.
Although she had immigrated to Boston, the story of Misha Defonseca didnâ€™t get nearly as much press last week in the U.S. as it did in Europe, when she joined a long line of self-confessed fakes
One of the distinctive features of the Book of Mormon is its pervasive anxiety about literacy
A few recent comments over at BCC have elaborated on a theme that one hears from time to time on the internet: “I didn’t get the whole scoop on LDS history while I was in Primary.”
Elder Packer’s article in this month’s Ensign closes with some thoughts on Evolution that have the potential to stir up a debate on the issue within the Church after several relatively quiet years.
How about the one about the frog in boiling water?
Should a psychologically healthy person be happy, cheerful, carefree? If you are not cheerful is there something wrong with you? Let’s see what Mormon scripture has to say.
Today’s news carries a deja vu article: Surveys show high rates of depression in Utah, and some psychiatrists wonder if Mormon culture is part of the cause. (The story runs under a pretty direct illustration that shows an apparently depressed woman and a photo of the temple in the background.)
The Salt Lake Tribune recently ran a column written by Grant Palmer arguing that Christian salvation turns not on the performance of ordinances but rather on an ethical life. Theologically speaking, the article (as Dave has pointed out nicely) is a pretty pedestrian, anti-sacramental, and essentially Protestant reading of the New Testament. The really interesting question raised by the article is not its theology, but rather what it is doing on the editorial page of an mainstream, secular newspaper. I think that we can safely dismiss the notion that the column was published because the Trib has taken it upon itself to launch a public discussion of Christian soteriology and New Testament hermeneutics. Perhaps the folks at the Trib editorial page think that a decent interest in the eternal salvation of their readers is part of their public function, but I doubt it. So what gives?
Mormons contributed to Mitt Romney’s campaign over the past year and half in some pretty eye-popping numbers (see, e.g., here and here). As such, I decided to comb through the campaign finance contribution records to see who exactly some prominent Mormons were donating to this past election cycle.
Once upon a time, The Great Apostasy by Elder James E. Talmage was on every Mormon’s reading list. But somehow that topic went out of fashion for a couple of decades — no LDS books treated the subject and it received considerably less attention in General Conference talks. Suddenly, the Great Apostasy seems to be back.
SMPT is meeting at the University of Utah on March 27-29, and the conference program is now posted on the web. Featured speakers include Stephen T. Davis of Claremont McKenna College and Jad Hatem of Saint Joseph University, Beirut. The conference is free and open to the public. Davis will also deliver a Tanner-McMurrin Lecture at Westminster College that weekend.