Blog Archives

Seafloor Spreading, or Why I’m Mormon

March 1, 2015 | one comment
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Seafloor Spreading, or Why I’m Mormon

Let’s acknowledge that beginnings are important. This is one reason why we care so much about history. So let’s go back to beginning. Let’s go back to the origin, to the source, to what the Greeks called the arche. But how? Where is the origin? Read more »

For Zion – Part 5

February 27, 2015 | 2 comments
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For Zion – Part 5

From the pen of Ben Peters (see previous post): Chapter five in Joseph Spencer’s For Zion turns to what he calls “the space of hope.” Here his discussion focuses on the space of “what remains to be seen” and to a similar effect as chapter four on the time of hope. Read more »

For Zion – Part 4

February 25, 2015 | 2 comments
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For Zion – Part 4

From the pen of Ben Peters: I’m thrilled and humbled to take part in this roundtable. By way of introduction, I’m Ben Peters, a husband, a father of four, a media historian and information technology theorist (more on my work here), a lifelong member, a long-time T&S reader, and first-time poster. My family has lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma since 2011, following an education trek stretching from Provo and Stanford to New York and Jerusalem. A disciplinary mutt, I have no real business commenting on the work of professional philosophers, especially chapters likely to trip up readers more careful than I... Read more »

For Zion – Part 2

February 13, 2015 | 12 comments
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For Zion – Part 2

The first chapter of For Zion lays the groundwork for Spencer’s reading of Paul’s theology of hope. It focuses especially on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Understanding the details of this “theology of hope” is crucial to understanding Spencer’s full account of what’s at stake in the law of consecration. Read more »

For Zion – Part 1

February 12, 2015 | 15 comments
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For Zion – Part 1

Whatever happened to Zion?  Whatever happened to the law of consecration? Aren’t these things from a long time ago? Or for some time way in the future? No. They are only ever for now. Saying that we’re not ready for Zion is like telling a guy lost in the desert he’s not ready for water. Read more »

Messianicity & Historicity

January 26, 2015 | 101 comments
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The Book of Mormon is a messianic text. As messianic, it means to interrupt and overwrite our normal experience of time. When this overwriting occurs at the level of the individual, it’s called repentance. When this overwriting occurs collectively, it’s called gathering. Both kinds of overwriting implicate the other. Read more »

2014 Mormon Book of the Year

January 7, 2015 | 7 comments
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2014 Mormon Book of the Year

With all the power vested in me (by myself), I hereby declare Joseph Spencer’s book, For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope, the 2014 Mormon Book of the Year. Read more »

Q&A with Myself

November 4, 2014 | 42 comments
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Q. Are you an apologist or neo-apologist? A. No, I’m just a philosopher. Others have said I’m an apologist, but I’ve never been interested in apologetics. Mormonism can stand on its own two feet and it doesn’t need me to defend it. Read more »

Mormon Weakness

October 30, 2014 | 20 comments
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My position is a weak one. But the question is: why? Read more »

Letter to a CES Student

October 28, 2014 | 102 comments
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It’s important to keep our tough questions about Mormonism in perspective. And, especially, we need to keep the genuinely urgent questions front and center. The big problems are straightforward. We’re dying here. You and I. We’re getting sick, we’re getting old, and we’re dying. Our lives are small and our time is short. Our days are filled with suffering of all kinds: distress, worry, boredom, frustration, and loss. Read more »

Mormonism Isn’t About Mormonism

October 22, 2014 | 6 comments
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It’s a mistake to think that Mormonism is about Mormonism. Read more »

The Body of Christ

October 16, 2014 | 39 comments
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“Is the church true?” This question is, I think, poorly posed. It seems ill-suited to the kind of existential burn that might compel me to ask it. It seems like a bad fit for what I’m after in a white-knuckled prayer. Read more »

The Crucible of Doubt – A Review

October 7, 2014 | 6 comments
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Fiona and Terryl Givens’ The Crucible of Doubt is a nearly perfect book. I hope that a million Mormons read it. Crucible manages to do what all great religious writing must: it sacrifices the impulse to prove its religion and, instead, takes up the yoke of living it. Read more »

James Faulconer – Making Things Harder

July 15, 2014 | 11 comments
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James Faulconer – Making Things Harder

It seems to me that the scriptures offer two types of revelations: (1) they reveal things you didn’t already know, and (2) they reveal that you didn’t know many of the things you thought you knew. Both kinds of revelation are pivotal. And each tends to depend on the other. James Faulconer’s new series of books — The Book of Mormon Made Harder, The Doctrine and Covenants Made Harder, The Old Testament Made Harder, and The New Testament Made Harder (forthcoming) — can help on both of these fronts. Though, to be fair, they’re especially good at the latter. Read more »

Upcoming Book Events – July 2

June 30, 2014 | 2 comments
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Books

If you’re around and interested, Zion’s Books (274 W. Center Street, Provo) will be hosting a roundtable discussion with myself, David Bokovoy, and Joseph Spencer at 6pm on Wednesday, July 2. Janiece Johnson will moderate the discussion.  Our topic: “Is Scripture Relevant?” Read more »

The Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies

June 26, 2014 | 8 comments
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The Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies

What I tend to lack in quality, I hope to make up for with quantity. And what I lack in training and credentials, I hope to gather and borrow. In many ways, these maxims have guided the time I’ve invested in a project called the Mormon Theology Seminar. Read more »

A Brief Note on History, Angels, and Such

May 23, 2014 | 24 comments
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Let’s say that the historicity of the Book of Mormon could be demonstrated irrefutably. (Say that Nephi returned in a cloud of glory, held a press conference, and pointed us to incontrovertible archeological proof.) Would I tune in to watch? Yes. Would this convince me to join or stay in the church? Read more »

Letters to a Young Mormon

January 15, 2014 | 10 comments
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Letters to a Young Mormon

I published a new book called Letters to a Young Mormon (Maxwell, 2014). It’s very small and very personal. You should read it. Read more »

Deadline – New Summer Seminar in Mormon Theology

December 14, 2013 | no comments
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Deadline – New Summer Seminar in Mormon Theology

Just a reminder that the deadline for applications for the First Annual Summer Seminar in Mormon Theology, co-spsonsored by The Mormon Theology Seminar and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, is December 15, 2013. Read more »

New Summer Seminar in Mormon Theology

October 10, 2013 | one comment
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New Summer Seminar in Mormon Theology

The Mormon Theology Seminar and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship are pleased to announce the First Annual Summer Seminar on Mormon Theology, “A Dream, a Rock, and a Pillar of Fire: Reading 1 Nephi 1.” Read more »

“Opposition in All Things: Perspectives on the Fall”

May 25, 2013 | 13 comments
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The Mormon Theology Seminar will host a two-day conference, “Opposition in All Things: Mormon Perspectives on the Fall,” at Utah Valley University on June 7-8, 2013. Read more »

Theoscatology

May 24, 2013 | 19 comments
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We need bodies to become like God. But bodies are organs of passing. Read more »

An Open Letter to Mormon Thinkers

May 2, 2013 | 21 comments
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An Open Letter to Mormon Thinkers

Last week I published something in a prominent series at a first-rate university press. It is, I think, the most rigorous, speculative, and systematic attempt at a professional take on Mormon philosophy, ever. Read more »

Tattooed

April 30, 2013 | 3 comments
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On his deathbed, Queequeg asks the ship’s carpenter to fashion him a burial canoe. So fashioned, Queequeg demands to lay himself the length of it, testing its virtue. Then, having abruptly remembered something he’d forgotten to do, he decides not to die after all and rises from the grave. Read more »