As I read the women’s stories in Baring Witness, I was filled with love and sorrow and hope for all of these sisters. I want to sit with them over a long lunch, laughing and crying together. These are women who have shared their vulnerabilities, who have opened their lives to me: how can I not love them? And the great strength of this collection is that Welker has gathered together Mormon-y women who have a wide variety of experiences with marriage, including even standard Mormon marriages that work according to plan with those relationships that encounter all sorts of unexpected challenges.
I’ve been thinking about the different callings I have been given over the years. To that end, I present to you Rachel’s Church Callings, an incomplete list:
Mormon Studies took another step forward this week with the announcement of two doctoral fellowships in Mormon Studies. Courtesy of the George S. and Delores Doré Eccles Foundation, the two fellowships will be awarded one a year this year and next. With any luck, the fellowships will be repeated in future years, assuming that they successfully lead to dissertations.
This second of three posts, covers Times and Seasons reader Last Lemming’s suggestions for Mormon of the Year for the years 1970 through 1989. We already posted on Monday his picks for 1950 through 1969 and on Friday morning we will list his picks for 1990 through 2007. I suspect as these posts get into more familiar and more recent territory, more of you will have comments and suggestions about who Last Lemming suggested and who should have been suggested instead.
The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology’s 2009 conference will be held at Claremont Graduate University, May 21-23, in cooperation with the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association.
Below is a forward I recently received about a perceived effort to eliminate the release time seminary system in an Idaho school district. The email is from a CES employee to parents of students in the school district encouraging them to oppose one of several proposed schedules currently under consideration that apparently would restructure the district’s trimester system and eliminate the class flexibility that enables the release time seminary program. It’s unclear whether preventing the Church from offering seminary during school hours was the intent of the proposed schedule at issue, but it nonetheless raises some interesting questions about the release time seminary program.
A call for papers, panels, movement sessions and choreography Sponsored by the Department of Dance with support from the BYU Museum of Art July 17 and 18, 2009 at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and in the BYU Richards Building dance studios.
It’s an intellectual banality to point out that how one thinks of the present structures how one thinks about the past. The cliché, however, is useful when thinking about Mormon history.
BYU’s Religious Studies Center recently announced that it had begun publishing books in Spanish, Portuguese, and German, an encouraging development, given how little is being produced outside of English. In his blog post about the news, Richard Neitzel Holzapfel writes: Today, it is estimated that there are nearly 7,000 spoken languages in the world, of which some 2,600 have a writing system. He goes on to say: Equally impressive is the effort to provide translations of the Book of Mormon to the world. Today, the complete Book of Mormon has been translated into seventy-nine languages, and selections are available in another twenty-three languages. This represents 99 percent of the languages spoken by Latter-day Saints. Efforts continue to translate this book into more languages to fulfill the Lord’s command. What he doesn’t say is that, in terms of the work still to be done to fill the directive in D&C 90:11, that “Every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language.”
In the run up to and in the wake of Prop 8, Latter-day Saint proponents of the measure have often tried to parse their words carefully when discussing their support for it in order to avoid charges of bigotry and hate for opposing the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. Echoing a refrain from the late Gordon B. Hinckley, Mormon Prop 8 supporters have often tried to explain that they are “not anti-gay, but pro-marriage.” This effort, however, has clearly failed to shield members from allegations of discrimination.
Penguin Books has just published a “Penguin Classics” edition of the Book of Mormon edited by Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp. Penguin Classics, of course, are the paperback editions of literary staples like Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. They are printed and marketed largely as texts for college classes. The assumption is that a text included in the Penguin series has become a stable part of the high-brow diet of books, or at least ought to be. It is worth reflecting a little bit about what this edition of the Book of Mormon might or might not mean. The Penguin book itself is based on the 1840 edition of the text rather than our current edition of the scriptures. The text was chosen because this was the last version that Joseph Smith was personally involved in editing. Also strictly speaking there is no standard 1830 version of the text for the simple reason that Grandin edited the book as he was printing it, with the result that different copies of the 1830 edition contain different versions of the text. Our current edition, in contrast, contains an elaborate set of interpretive aids that were added long after Joseph was murdered. Hence, the Penguin edition is printed without versification or the current chapter breaks, both of which were added in Utah by Orson Pratt. Rather, it is printed as regular prose â€“ much like a novel â€“ with the original chapter breaks, which were…
Standing Together and the Religious Studies Program at Utah Valley University are hosting a conference of Latter-day Saint and evangelical Christian students and scholars this coming Friday and Saturday, October 24-5, 2008, on topics including, “Was a Restoration Necessary?,” “Authority and Scripture,” and “The Nature of God: Finite or Infinite?” Directly addressing some of the primary points of disagreement between Mormons and evangelicals, the discussion is sure to be electric.
Marc Bohn’s post yesterday on how Mormonism is classified became a legal issue reminded me that the issue of how Mormonism is classified is anything but clear, especially when non-Mormons are doing the classifying. We say we are Christian, and evangelicals claim we are not. We don’t want to be called Catholic or Protestant (or Eastern Orthodox for that matter, but that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue). But despite our intentions, Mormonism is classified in all sorts of different ways by many different observers and for many different purposes. We’ve been classified all over the place.
Heads up for those in the D.C. area. Earlier this Spring I posted a notice about a great series of events that Greg Prince, co-author of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, hosted at his house in Potomac, Maryland. After a brief summer interlude, Brother Prince is back at it. The speaker at his next meeting will be Darius Gray, who will screen and discuss his recently completed documentary, “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons” (which he co-wrote and produced with T&S alum Margaret Young). Brother Gray served in the presidency of the Genesis Group–a Church-sponsored support group for black Latter-day Saints–for three decades and is truly a pleasure to hear speak. The meeting will be on Sunday, October 19th, at 7:00 p.m. Those interested in attending need to RSVP to Brother Prince as soon as possible (gprince at erols.com). When you do, request his address (I’d rather not post it here) and let him know if you can bring a snack or dessert (as larger-than-normal attendance is expected for this event).
The church issued a statement about alcohol laws in Utah. The last paragraph reads: â€œThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that Utahns, including those who work in the hospitality industry, can come together as citizens, regardless of religion or politics, to support laws and regulations that allow individual freedom of choice while preserving Utahâ€™s proven positive health and safety record on limiting the tragic consequences of overconsumption of alcohol.â€
Given all that might be said of Mormonism, it should not come as a surprise that a lot of interesting topics sit pretty much neglected. One of these, I would argue, is the Mormon contribution to building settlements in the United States.
In the Old Testament God likens his relationship to the House of Israel as that of a bridegroom to his wife. In the New Testament, the Church is described as the bride of Christ. The choice of the image of marriage, it seems to me, is hardly accidental. It provides, I think, the background for the commandments against speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed and by extension — I believe — the Lord’s Church. Belief and membership — the two ideas that we use most commonly when thinking about our relationship to the Church — are, it strikes me, far too thin to capture what is really at work in it. Belief implies that what is primarily at stake is assent to a set of propositions. Membership is a bit better in that it nods toward the social dimension of the relationship, but membership tells us nothing about the level of reciprocity or commitment involved. I am a member of the Oman family, a member of the Virginia Bar, a member of my HOA. These are very different sorts of membership. Marriage is a much richer concept. To be a member of a marriage is to have a very thick set of obligations, affections, and relationships. It is also to have a fierce commitment to the maintenance of the relationship with its obligations and affections. We go on dates with our spouses, but not our HOA. We entwine our lives…
Adamâ€™s post about the California Supreme Courtâ€™s recent decision, and the resulting brawl in the comments got me thinking about the basis of discrimination. In 1998, while I was a senior at BYU I spent a semester in Williamsburg, Virginia doing research in the archives at the College of William and Mary. The week before my job in Williamsburg was to begin, I drove down from DC, where I had been working over the summer, to find a place to stay. I had three options. One turned out to be unfurnished, which took it off the list. The second option was a house filled with a mix of grad students and college seniors. The ownership structure wasnâ€™t entirely clear, but I think that the house actually belonged to the parents of one of the students. After showing me the room, my putative landlord asked me why I was in Williamsburg. I explained that I was a BYU student doing research in the archives. He got a very serious look on his face, and explained that he had grown up in Spokane, Washington with many Latter-day Saints and found them to be very â€œun-Christianâ€ and would prefer not to rent to a Mormon.
I heard a story on This American Life a couple of weeks ago that has had me thinking about the reality of Satan and just what that means for us in our lives.