Posts You Might Have Missed 3

While the Bloggernacle was ablaze with commentary on the June 29 First Presidency letter to California Mormons (see interesting updates here and here) plenty of posts on other timely topics were zipping through cyberspace.

Results of a massive survey on American religious life conducted by the Pew Forum were released. Matt B. at JI summarizes some of the results: 581 Mormons were included in the survey population; the LDS Church has a surprisingly sharp gender gap in the results, favoring women; compared to other denominations, Mormons like the Republican Party but don’t like homeschooling or evolution; and only 35% of Mormons “believe that their ‘Holy Book’ is literally the word of God.” Additional figures, plus links to the data, were posted at 16SS.

At Mormon Magz, a short piece on “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” a reprint of Elder Ballard’s talk last year at BYU-H, which might just become the next generation’s “Flooding the Earth With the Book of Mormon.” Speaking of the next generation, BCC chimed in with commentary likening LDS inability to communicate with other believers to the plight of Picard and Darmok in a noteworthy TNG episode. Noteworthy, but not the best. Of the 178 episodes, my favorites were “The Inner Light” and (of course) “The Best of Both Worlds” (the 2-part Borg drama). Special thanks to Wikipedia for making useful information like the title and plot of every TNG episode available at the click of a mouse. Oh, and don’t forget to share the gospel online.

Quick links:

14 comments for “Posts You Might Have Missed 3

  1. Julie M. Smith
    July 7, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I don’t think it is fair to say that they “don’t like” homeschooling the same way that they “don’t like” evolution: fewer Mormons homeschool but I don’t see that they dislike it; they may just choose not to do it because they live in areas with good schools or they have too many toddlers underfoot or they need to work or whatever other reason.

  2. July 7, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Well, that certainly throws down the gauntlet. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is, in my opinion, the best TNG episode.

  3. July 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Thanks for mentioning one of the posts from my blog. I think we have a long way to go in realizing Elder Ballard’s vision of the Internet as a tool in sharing the gospel, but we’re certainly doing better than we were a few short years ago.

    By the way, did you read some of the actual questions and permitted responses from that Pew study? If you can track them down, you’ll take the results with a pretty big grain of salt.

  4. Julie M. Smith
    July 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    I waded through the 80 page summary. Some interesting things:

    4% of LDS said that they spoke or prayed in tongues at least once per week.

    LDS were the most likely to have three children at home and the most likely to have 4 or more but also the most likely to have 0.

    And it looks like the data was misrepresented re my comment #1: the question was “Home school or send child/children to a religious school instead of a public school?” As far as I can tell, a question just about homeschooling wasn’t asked. I had suspected LDS were slightly more likely than average to homeschool, but I also suspect LDS are less likely than average to send their children to private school (esp. a private religious school).

  5. July 7, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    The Book of Mormon is like the Kataan probe for the Nephites, in which they live on. An undercurrent in most all the Book of Mormon writers, and explicitly pointed out by some, is: “Remember us. We really existed. We knew of Christ.”

  6. July 7, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you for linking to my Keepa post about Elder Benson, both in this post and Julie’s link in the sideblog. That post has been getting a lot of hits thanks to being featured by you and BCC — your referrals make a big difference to a little blog.

    In my day (cough, cough), the early ’70s, we had to share ST stuff via zines and hand-typed transcriptions and eventually the Blish novelizations. I still have my Concordance (a prehistoric paper wiki), and Enterprise blueprints, and Spock decanter, but I’m afraid virtually everything else has gone by the bye. I went to Patrick Stewart’s first TNG con appearance (Denver) — he stood at the edge of the stage, his green denim workshirt rolled up to his elbows, folded his arms, and spoke *without a microphone* so that all 2,000 of us in the ballroom could hear him clearly. What an actor! what a captain.

  7. July 8, 2008 at 12:00 am

    That’s very good, Bookslinger — hadn’t thought of that angle (relating to “The Inner Light”). Voices from the interstellar dust. Or maybe speaker for the dead.

  8. StillConfused
    July 8, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for the link “Why LDS history shouldn’t hurt your testimony” One of the downsides to actually learning about the religion is learning about the creepy stuff. I have really been struggling with some of the “interesting” sexual practices by early prophets. Luckily I am just learning about this now because if I had learned about it when I was younger, there is no way I would have stayed LDS.

  9. July 8, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Dave,

    Your mention of my post created a lot of activity at my site for “Why LDS history shouldn’t hurt your testimony”.

    My counter shows 300+ views. Apparently, this topic is of interest to many people. At my site the second most viewed post are those on repentance. There are 8 post on repentance. LDS are hungry for answers to church history questions and to obtain greater understanding about repentance.

    I hope to see the most popular sites, with the most capable communicators, address these topics more often because there appears to be a genuine need among those who frequent the bloggernacle. Thanks for taking the time to mention this post.

  10. July 9, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Some good reading. Thanks for the pointers.

    Along with Julie’s comments about only 6% of LDS homeschooling, I’ll add that I think among practicing Christians, Mormons tend to be highly tolerant of what they’ll put up with for the sake of convenience.

  11. quin
    July 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm


    Just curious about one of the stats you quoted. You said that only 35% of Mormons believe that their Holy book is the literal word of God.

    I saw no question directly regarding the Book of Mormon, which is what most people would first think of as the Holy book belonging specifically to Mormonism. Did I miss it?

    What is indicated in the report regarding scripture is (quote) More than eight-in-ten Jehovah’s Witnesses (92%), Mormons (91%) and members of evangelical….view the Bible as the word of God…(end quote). In another section showing Literal INTERPRETATION of Scripture by Religious Tradition it says that 35% of Mormons believe the Bible is the word of God to be taken literally word for word, 57% believe it is the word of God but not literally true word for word, or unsure if literally true, 4% said not word of God, and 4% said don’t know or refused to answer.

    In surveys of this nature it is easy to misinterpret or misrepresent what the data is showing, and I think it is important to be clear that all the data indicates is that 91% of Mormons do view the Bible to be the word of God, but that only 35% feel it must be taken literally word for word. Also important to note is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the only religious organization grouped under the title of “Mormon” for the survey.

  12. Cicero
    July 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    “literal” has sadly become a word that confuses people.

    Obviously (most) of the Bible and Book of Mormon are not the literal Word of God, since God didn’t speak it, alot of it is history as recorded by participants. However, much of the D & C is the literal Word of God.

    This is not the same as the question of whether the Book of Mormon and Bible should be interpreted literally. (ie Did Ammon really smite people’s arms off, Did Samson really have his strength dependent on his hair length).

  13. July 9, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Yesterday’s Enterprise was way, way better than The Inner Light (though I refuse to believe there are fewer than five “best” episodes, given the existence of Yesterday’s Enterprise, The Best of Both Worlds I and II, and Unification I and II, all in the same universe!)

    At least some parts of the Book of Mormon (usually the ones that start off by mentioning a voice like thunder) are the literal word of God, so far as you can use the word literally while encompassing the concept of “said in some language no man living has ever heard, written down by some other guys at some time later, condensed by another guy in a different language a few hundred years later, forgotten for about 1400 years, translated verbally into English by way of miracles by a young, less-than-well-educated man, written down by a different person, and then edited, in some cases, by others still.”

    I will, however, testify to the truthfulness about that whole “putting up with stuff for the sake of convenience.”

    And, uh, sharing testimonies is good… I have my favorite scriptures posted on my Facebook profile. That counts, right?

  14. Raymond Takashi Swenson
    July 10, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    The mention of “Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon” in combination with Elder Ballard’s encouragement to share our testimonies on the Internet made me think that Latter-day Saints could do both things at the same time, by sharing meaningful passages from the Book of Mormon on blogs and comment sites, etc.

    Many people hesitate to open the Book of Mormon because, frankly, most people just don’t read books these days, especially ones that aren’t romance, action adventure, SF-Fantasy, westerns, or other genre fiction, or that don’t have illustrations.

    If people were introduced to actual statements from the Book of Mormon about Christ, faith, and God’s love, I think it would resonate with them. Many would simply understand that it really is about Christ, that it is a religious book that speaks the language of the Bible, that it contains positive precepts. Others might be curious enough to want to read more. Some will have questions that they will pose to their Mormon neighbors or to the missionaries they run into.

    I remember people who served missions in English speaking areas telling me about how their companions would teach people by quoting the Book of Mormon and most folks would assume it was from the Bible. The true story of Vincenzo di Francesca, who found a Book of Mormon without a cover or title page in a barrel of ashes, and began using it in his sermons at an Italian Methodist church in New York City, shows that people recognize the value of the words of the Book of Mormon even when they don’t know where they come from.

    We can use BoM quotes when they are relevant to all kinds of discussions on the Web, not only those specifically concerning Mormonism.

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