Mormons are often dismissive of some Protestants, especially evangelicals.
I went to this past weekend’s conference not so much to hear any of the particular talks as to see what sort of exchange they formed. Interreligious dialogue is one of the most difficult things there is, to do well. Here are some notes on the conference as an occasion for such dialogue, and a stepping stone toward better dialogue in the future.
The Library of Congress conference on Joseph Smith deserves more discussion. Here are some key links for your reference.
This statement from The Blog of Happiest Fun got a lot of links from other female bloggernaclites: I would like to spend more time discussing the lives of strong women in the scriptures. Women like Hannah, Deborah, Jael, or Anna the prophetess. There are so many women that I find interesting, and I don’t hear about them enough. I’d like to study their lives some more.
Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the gift of the Holy Ghost. In one sense, nothing profound has come from that thinking. I’ve felt that my thinking has been worth the effort it took. I have enjoyed the spirit I felt while thinking about it and feel better prepared to received the Holy Ghost, but my thinking hasn’t something that can be reproduced in an essay.
Which should we be more strenuously avoiding, and how? Clark Goble suggests that the Church in “the last decade and a half has focused on building on common ground. But that has also (IMO) had unfortunate doctrinal consequences on the population as well as I believe leading to the decrease in conversions the last 5 – 8 years.”
The Mormon Spinozist has an interesting post lamenting (sort of) the lack of a clear doctrinal answer on the question of when life does or does not begin. What are we to make of the fact that we seem to have important questions about which the scriptures provide cryptic guidance at best? Here is my stab at a conclusion: Neither God nor his prophets seem to be ethicists.
It is tough to deal with being a member of a church which had polygamous founders. It’s not easy to look back through your religious history to the key figures, some of the ones on which the entire system rests, and note their ugly warts. Why did they choose to take more than one wife? Why did they even embrace polyandry, the taking of other men’s wives? Were these men sex addicts, deviants, or worse? How can a modern member deal with such a blatantly misogynistic practice? Not to mention the lying about wives. Is there any place in today’s society for a church based on such a barbaric law? It’s a tough question. Yes, I just don’t know how the members of the Jewish faith — and its little offshoot, Christianity — can go to sleep at night, knowing what they do about Abraham’s polygamy.
Yesterday at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, here at Notre Dame, I attended a service of prayer and lamentation called “Tenebrae”, remembering the darkness of the night when Christ suffered in Gethsemane and was arrested, and anticipating his death. It closed with a final candle carried out, leaving us in complete darkness, and the congregation producing a loud noise, like the rolling of the stone to close the grave. Today I had a conversation with some friends, in which we reflected on the meaning of these events, and the difference in the darkness from a Mormon point of view.
As I see students get excited about Heidegger or Wittgenstein or some other philosopher and the insights into their own lives and the gospel that come with that excitement, I remember my first year or so in graduate school.
At the time the Church was organized, Joseph was called as its prophet and the Saints were told : “Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”
The first installment of Phillip Barlow’s excellent 12 Questions raises the interesting question of whether the Church will ever produce a modern language edition of the Book of Mormon in English. The answer is that it already has.
One the bed-rock doctrines of Mormonism (to the extent that we have any bed-rock doctrines) is that the church set up by Christ fell away from the true gospel, lost its priesthood authority, and slipped into apostasy. It seems to me that we have two fundamental problems with the doctrine of the Great Apostasy.
John goes out of his way to be sure we notice how various prophecies of Christ were fulfilled. For example, at his crucifixion the soldiers did not break his legs, “that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36). John does not comment so explicitly on Christ’s description of himself as the good shepherd. Is this because the reference was already plain enough?
Yesterday the postman delivered the latest installment in the collected works of Hugh Nibley, volume 15, Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity. At a modest 254 pages, the volume has quite a bit to say about church history, record keeping, authority, change and apostasy. It may have even more to say about the life-cycle of Mormon Studies.
In Gospel Doctrine class today, we read several verses from Doctrine and Covenants in which the keys of the priesthood are referred to. (We are on lesson eight.) An example is D&C 84:19: “This greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.”
I have been reading Kathleen Flake’s excellent book on the Reed Smoot hearings, and it has me thinking Smootish thoughts.
Kaimi scooped me by about 6 seconds on the sidebar link to this.
Most members of the Church are probably familiar with the estimate made by (nonLDS) sociologist Rodney Stark that, if current growth patterns hold, there will be 268 million members of the Church by the year 2080.
It is time for the post that you have all been waiting for, the one of the place of Mormonism in habeas corpus jurisprudence.