The Unwritten Order of Things, Revisited

September 22, 2014 | 24 comments
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At last night’s Stake Leadership Training Meeting, the stake president announced the first two speakers, both bishops. The second was assigned the topic “the unwritten order of things.” Hard to think of a topic more likely to spin out of control — I braced for the worst, and prepared myself for the upcoming train wreck by Googling up a copy of Elder Packer’s actual remarks at the 1996 BYU devotional and (#3 on the Google search) Julie’s 2009 post “The Problem with the Unwritten Order of Things” and the 103 spirited comments to that post. Read more »

On Not Reading the Book of Mormon

September 16, 2014 | 6 comments
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Having heard nice things about the odd little book by Pierre Bayard How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read (ht: someone out there), I finally found it. And read it. Summary: You read a very, very small slice of all published books. You forget most of what you... Read more »

What to Expect When You Are Expecting . . . A Bishopric Call

September 15, 2014 | 76 comments
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What to Expect When You Are Expecting . . . A Bishopric Call

So a dear friend of mine just got called to a new bishopric and wants to know the known knowns, the known unknowns, and, of course, the unknown unknowns. Read more »

My Experiment with Five Minute Prayers

September 15, 2014 | 26 comments
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2014-09-15 Prayer 01

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been setting a timer every time I say my evening prayers. This might sound like an absolutely terrible idea and, in some... Read more »

In Your Heart and Mind

September 11, 2014 | 9 comments
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My son came stomping into the house from the garden a month ago, demanding I punish his sister, Read more »

Elder Ballard: “Don’t Talk Too Much”

September 9, 2014 | 77 comments
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Today Elder Ballard spoke at the Europe Area Sisters’ Meeting. (Yes, the same meeting with the poster flap.) You can see the video here. Read more »

A self-guided walking tour of Higher Criticism

September 9, 2014 | 22 comments
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A self-guided walking tour of Higher Criticism

So I wrote another book. At first I thought that I was writing a short article to explain why two different Reformation-era prophecies share the same title, but the... Read more »

Practical Apologetics: The First Vision

September 4, 2014 | 86 comments
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It’s not surprising that the First Vision has become one of the faith issues that gets kicked around the Internet these days. Visions are personal experiences of one particular... Read more »

A temple, a temple, we already have a temple

September 2, 2014 | 13 comments
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Our invented tradition': the 'sea' as a baptismal funt

Yes, we do, a lot of temples, more than ever in history. We are, as the leaders never stop telling us, a temple building people, and if anything distinguishes... Read more »

Truth and Contradiction in Religious Communities

September 2, 2014 | 9 comments
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Guru Nanak with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana and Sikh Gurus. (Wikimedia)

A couple of weeks ago I listened to the audiobook of Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction. As that was the first thing I’ve read on the topic (other than... Read more »

Book Review: The Crucible of Doubt

August 30, 2014 | 46 comments
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Book Review: The Crucible of Doubt

Terryl and Fiona Givens, The Crucible of Doubt, Deseret Book, 145 pages. Read more »

The Problem with Local Change

August 29, 2014 | 53 comments
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Imagine that everything in the church is precisely the way that it is now with two exceptions: Read more »

Book Review: The Miracles of Jesus

August 29, 2014 | 5 comments
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Book Review: The Miracles of Jesus

 Eric D. Huntsman, The Miracles of Jesus, Deseret Book, 164 pages. Read more »

Women and the Church – Constructively Engaging the Arguments

August 24, 2014 | 104 comments
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Women and the Church – Constructively Engaging the Arguments

I’m going to describe the dialectical geography as I see it, in order to try and help readers at T&S do better at constructively engaging the arguments in what... Read more »

In Dialogue: The Best of Ten Years of Mormon Blogging

August 24, 2014 | 3 comments
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The Summer 2014 print issue of Dialogue arrived in my mailbox last week. Among other fine articles is a ten-year look back at Mormon blogging by Dialogue Web Editor... Read more »

About Social Media

August 19, 2014 | 17 comments
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Elder David A. Bednar just delivered a talk on social media at BYU Education Week. The text of the talk is already posted at LDS.org (video also available). You... Read more »

We Are Made to Suffer

August 18, 2014 | 46 comments
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2014-08-18 Guernica

In centuries gone by the best you could hope for in the case of an aching tooth would be that someone would yank it out, but thanks to modern... Read more »

12 Questions for Miranda Wilcox and John Young, Editors of Standing Apart—Part II

August 16, 2014 | 8 comments
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Here are the six remaining questions in our series with Miranda Wilcox and John Young, continued from Part I. 7. How much of what you do in this book... Read more »

The Hypothetical “Missionary Library”

August 15, 2014 | 41 comments
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The Hypothetical “Missionary Library”

As a companion piece to Dave’s post on missionaries, let’s talk about the approved missionary library. I have concerns about what missionaries study, know, and teach. The typical missionary develops far... Read more »

Salt Lake City, We Have a Problem

August 15, 2014 | 101 comments
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Artist's rendering of a serious problem.

It has always been the case that some missionaries “come home early,” as the gentle phrasing goes. It turns out that more missionaries are coming home early than ever... Read more »

Book Review: Way Below the Angels

August 13, 2014 | 17 comments
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Book Review: Way Below the Angels

Craig Harline, Way Below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled but Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary This may be the most painful... Read more »

Book Review: A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

August 12, 2014 | 21 comments
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Book Review: A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

How much did I like this book? So much that I do not regret the night of sleep that I lost to my inability to put it down. (That... Read more »

DC Institute Class

August 11, 2014 | one comment
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Thomas B. Griffith (D.C. Circuit Court judge and former BYU General Counsel, Senate Legal Counsel, Bishop and Stake President) is teaching an institute class at the Chevy Chase building this... Read more »

A Day in the Life

August 11, 2014 | 5 comments
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I wrote this a few months ago and forget to post it. Read more »

12 Questions for Miranda Wilcox and John Young, editors of Standing Apart—Part I

August 8, 2014 | 12 comments
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Miranda Wilcox (BYU) and John Young (Flagler College) have recently published Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy, a collection of essays examining the Mormon narrative... Read more »

FAIR Conference, Day 2

August 8, 2014 | 11 comments
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Below is the agenda for Day 2 of the FAIR Conference in Provo with brief bios of the speakers. I will be adding summaries of some of the sessions... Read more »

FairConference, Thursday Afternoon Sessions

August 7, 2014 | one comment
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Bob Rees A review of Earl Wunderli’s Imperfect Book   Started with this Card Colour changing trick video (http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/colour-changing-card-trick-outtakes/) to illustrate that too much focus on one thing can... Read more »

FairMormon Conference Thursday Morning Sessions

August 7, 2014 | 5 comments
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I’m not quite up to live blogging, so my coverage of FAIR will lag slightly behind the fact. I will be posting summaries of talks posted after completion rather... Read more »

Performing Mark

August 7, 2014 | 14 comments
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Performing Mark

It would seem that when a text is nearly two thousand years old, there might not be a whole lot new to say about it. But this isn’t the case... Read more »

Floating Through a Billion Years of Mormon History

August 6, 2014 | 7 comments
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Deep time in a deep canyon.

Well, a billion years of geological history and a couple hundred years of Mormon history. That’s what I saw last month on a rafting trip down the Colorado River... Read more »