We last heard from Mary while she was living in Jerusalem, and we’re excited to welcome back her insights as we round out the year. In addition to her stint in Jerusalem, Mary has lived on the east coast and overseas in England—though she’s a Utah native and currently resides in Utah Valley with her husband and children. She’s an avid reader, a committed student of the gospel and religious studies more broadly, and has spent a number of years teaching both seminary and institute. Welcome back Mary!
Author: James Olsen
James is the husband of Erin Fairlight Olsen. Together they have conspired to doom their four children to a lifetime of mispronounced names: Gaebriel Joseph, Magdeleine Ysabelle, Myriam Reevkahleh, and Ewa Nuhr. Raised where the buffalo still roam in northeastern Wyoming, James learned how to Anglicize French while serving in the Missouri, St. Louis Mission. Afterward he thought so long and indecisively and with such passionately committed existential anguish about what to do with his life that finally BYU simply granted him a degree in philosophy. He then received a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. Unable to subsequently handle the pressures of looming heteronormativity, however, he once again took up philosophy, this time at Georgetown. Currently he is in Doha, Qatar, hiding out from Georgetown, which, much like his wife, would really appreciate it if he just graduated.
Muslim-Mormon Dialogue at Georgetown: The Perks of Being Peculiar
I know that I am a better Mormon on account of Muslim friends and hope that they will be able to say the same of me.
Book Review — Where We Must Stand: Ten Years of Feminist Mormon Housewives
reading and reviewing this book was a weighty experience for me, just as participating in FMH has been a weighty experience for its authors and many of its participants; and some of that weight shows up here
Times & Season Welcomes Mary Grey
Times and Seasons is excited to welcome our newest guest blogger, Mary E. Grey, who will be writing a series of posts from her current home in Jerusalem.
Messianism as Ethical Futurism – Reading Nephi – 19:7-17
Nephi’s eclectic messianism can be read as prophesying an ethical futurism.
Engraving a Record, Engraving a People – Reading Nephi – 19:1-6
All my life I’ve imagined the Book of Lehi—those tragically lost 116 pages—as having been written by Lehi. But the Book of Lehi was engraven on plates
What’s in a Name? – Reading Nephi – 18:23-19:1
This post is part of a series of reflections on I Nephi. If you’re interested, the introduction to the series is here. To peruse earlier entries, click the authors tab at the top of the page and then click on my name. I welcome your own thoughts on these specific verses (or on my reflections) in the comments below. * * * * I Nephi 18:23-19:1 They arrive at the promised land. They pitch their tents. I can’t help but picture elation and Hollywood scenes of the family kneeling to kiss wet sand as water rolls over their feet. They made it! Now what? At the end of years of travel, when one finally reaches one’s destination, what does one do? As Nephi goes on to note, they’re in a new land with new flora and fauna and resources—but a land of which they’ve zero knowledge. Particularly when it comes to survival, local knowledge is everything. I imagine a profound funk of “what now?” hung over them. After more than eight years, are they simply to stop? Do they stop and build right on the coast? Do they look around for a fertile valley? Do they have to try and find an uninhabited location? Are they sure that God doesn’t want them to continue on further into the wilderness? Nephi makes no comment about these decisions and does not mention revelation here. It’s unclear that the Liahona—so integral to their ocean voyage—could…
Failed Revolutions and Failed Patriarchs – Reading Nephi – 18:17-22
This post is part of a series of reflections on I Nephi. If you’re interested, the introduction to the series is here. To peruse earlier entries, click the authors tab at the top of the page and then click on my name. I welcome your own thoughts on these specific verses (or on my reflections) in the comments below. * * * * I Nephi 18:17-22 Above all, this passage reveals the deep hypocrisy of Laman. In verse ten Laman is the adamant defender of tradition and the cultural norms that ought to govern our lives—he refuses to accept rule from a usurping younger brother. In verse seventeen and eighteen, however, he has no compunction with regard to deposing the patriarchal rule of his father—a far greater infraction of tradition. Even more, he shirks the duty of the firstborn to care for the parents in their old age; quite the opposite, he creates conditions that bring his parents to the point of death and refuses to alter course when this becomes clear. Even taking Nephi’s account with a grain of salt, it’s hard to imagine a scenario here where Laman doesn’t come off very poorly.\ Part of the function of this passage is to reveal the utter ungovernability of Laman. It’s not just that he won’t submit to Nephi, a younger, usurping brother; it’s that he won’t submit to any form of authority, any of the cultural norms and constraints—Laman is refusing…
Flourishing Amidst the Storm – Reading Nephi – 18:9-16
Murmuring undermines one’s relationship with God and one’s ability to cope either with the storms of the cosmos or the wounds inflicted by our family members.
Driven Towards the Promised Land – Reading Nephi – 18:1-8
“And they did worship the Lord”—that’s the conclusion to the whole row. I wonder at it. What was the change?
Win the Battle, Lose the War – Reading Nephi – 17:48-55
The eternal cosmological drama in which we’re embedded demands that we work to reflect the divinity of our enemies back to them if we wish them to join with us in our Zionic alliance of apotheosis. And whether we do, that is what we ought to wish.
The Children of Israel – Reading Nephi – 17:23-47 – Part II
This is a powerful ethic. I feel its pull deeply. But there is a second half, a dark side
Mythology, Apology, and Plausibility – Reading Nephi – 17:23-47 – Overview
In mythically promoting our history we risk undermining it—at least we do so in today’s information age. But this chapter with Laman and Nephi sparring makes me think that perhaps this is always the case.
God’s Demand That We Suffer – Reading Nephi – 17:17-22
I don’t care what kind of faith you have, Nephi’s idea on the face of it is loony.
The Narrative of Divine Command – Reading Nephi – 17:13-15
Two remarkable items: the repetition of Nephi’s mantra concerning the need to keep the commandments of God in order to prosper and to see the hand of the Lord; the placement of this mantra immediately preceding Laman’s criticism.
Embodied Spirituality – Reading Nephi – 17:7-12
In passages like this one, Nephi strikes me as incredibly concrete and practical in nature—much more a Brigham Young than a Joseph Smith.
The Fleeting Joy of Bountiful – Reading Nephi – 17:4-6
Like the story of Moses (to which Nephi often refers) the story of Lehi’s & Saraiah’s exodus is epic and foundational, as well as typological.
Eight Years to Eternity in the Wilderness – Reading Nephi – 17:1-4
Sandwiched in between the Daughter’s of Ishmael’s complaints about their afflictions and Laman’s complaints about the women’s afflictions (16:35-36 and 17:20-21), Nephi acknowledges that they were indeed afflicted.
Mourning Brother Monson
One of the clearest signals of being one of the Mormon people is our unique experience of the passing of the head of our church.
God’s Favor and Human Arrogance and Contempt – Reading Nephi – 16:33-39
Perhaps I ought to be grateful that no such crisis demanding the voice of the Lord has come into my life. Or perhaps I should wonder at the silence of the heavens.