Blog Archives

Exploring Mormon Thought: The Homogeneous?

March 21, 2012 | 61 comments
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Exploring Mormon Thought: The Homogeneous?

In chapter 8 of The Attributes of God, Ostler continues grappling with the question of human agency in relation to God’s foreknowledge. The professional literature generated by this kind of theological question is wide and deep and the field is no particular speciality of mine. On these kinds of questions, Ostler is much better read than I am. The basic problem is this: “If there is anything in circumstances which precludes a person from exercising a power, then the power cannot be exercised under those circumstances” (249). Blake argues that God’s strong foreknowledge is just the kind... Read more »

Exploring Mormon Thought: The Multitude

February 29, 2012 | 6 comments
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Exploring Mormon Thought: The Multitude

Is there a set of all sets? This is one way of asking that most basic of all metaphysical questions: is the world “one” or “many”? For traditional Christian thinking, the difference between the world being one or many was simply the difference between Christianity and paganism. Joseph Smith’s assertion that we are uncreated and coeternal with God hits the metaphysical reset button and forces us to look at this question again. Read more »

The Bootless

February 24, 2012 | 9 comments
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Most of what is given is never received. Most of what is possible goes unrealized. And many feet never find a shoe. True, life presses on (except when it doesn’t). But when it moves, it moves in fits and false starts and, just like Darwin said, most of its spendthrift variations end up serving no end in particular. Call this surplus the bootless. Read more »

Exploring Mormon Thought: Second Principles

February 15, 2012 | 39 comments
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Exploring Mormon Thought: Second Principles

In House of Prayer No. 2, Mark Richard relates the hip surgery he had in the sixties as a boy. He didn’t understand much about what was happening. His parents checked him into the hospital and then he was pretty much on his own. Read more »

On Reading Theology

February 11, 2012 | 19 comments
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On Reading Theology

The children of Israel are stiff-necked and hard-hearted. God sends serpents to bite them. Then he says the only way to be healed is to look at a serpent held up on a pole. This is kind of like reading theology. Read more »

Exploring Mormon Thought: ± God

February 1, 2012 | 12 comments
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Exploring Mormon Thought: ± God

What’s my margin of error? Adam ± .33? Read more »

The Scholar of Moab: Believing Bees

January 20, 2012 | 3 comments
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The Scholar of Moab: Believing Bees

“Belief” is more like an armchair anthropologist’s naive explanation of what’s going on with religious people than a description of what actually happens when someone sits in a pew or kneels by a bed. The way the word gets used as shorthand for willful gullibility is all wrong. These days, talking about religious “belief” is often just a tolerant way for non-religious people to make sense of religious phenomena from across the room by, in effect, saying that the religious phenomena they don’t understand don’t really happen. Stuff doesn’t happen at church, people “believe” stuff happens at church!  Read more »

Exploring Mormon Thought: Signs of the Times

January 19, 2012 | 36 comments
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Exploring Mormon Thought: Signs of the Times

 Do Mormons do theology? Sure. Do they do theology qua theologians? Not really. Read more »

The Scholar of Moab: Interviduality

January 17, 2012 | 24 comments
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The Scholar of Moab: Interviduality

How many am I? Read more »

Sex as Truth

December 12, 2011 | 30 comments
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Joseph Spencer, in his encouraging response to Taylor Petrey’s Dialogue article, “Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon theology,” makes the following claim: Read more »

Mad Scientist

December 10, 2011 | 21 comments
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Mad Scientist

Taylor Petrey is a mad scientist. He’s hard at work – goggles affixed, white coat misbuttoned, pocket-protector full – blowing up the lab. He’s a mythbuster. He’s Jamie Hyneman with a walrus mustache. (That cannonball in your living room is his.) Read more »

Wild-Eyed

November 30, 2011 | 8 comments
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Here’s my wild-eyed claim for the day: religion is about the world, not about religion. Which do you talk about at church? Read more »

The Strait [sic] and Narrow

November 28, 2011 | 37 comments
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Say we agree that Mormonism is about progress and progression. A couple of questions might follow. Read more »

Phantom Limb

November 22, 2011 | 15 comments
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I can’t speak to your experience. I can’t speak even to my own. But I’ll tell a story. I remember the day and time and place that I stopped believing in God, but not the date. Read more »

Ecce Theologus

October 21, 2011 | 3 comments
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Joseph Spencer is indispensable. He is the “not-thoughtless” and the “never-glosses-over.” Read more »

Benedictus

October 19, 2011 | 14 comments
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The theologian is indispensible. She is the not-thoughtless. She takes no thought because she gives it. And the more she gives it away, the more it multiplies. Read more »

Theologians Anonymous

October 17, 2011 | 30 comments
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1. We admitted we were powerless over our theologies — that our thoughts had become unmanageable. Read more »

Circuitous Machinations – On Mormon Theology

September 19, 2011 | 33 comments
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A comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation. —“Rube Goldberg,” Webster’s New World Dictionary Read more »

Binoculars

August 29, 2011 | 9 comments
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You’re given a pair of binoculars. Read more »

Belief

August 14, 2011 | 14 comments
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I know a lot of people swear by it, but I’ve never found “belief” to be a reliable way of describing what is (or isn’t) happening when I plant myself in a pew. Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Duration

July 22, 2011 | 6 comments
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Say that you want to pray. Say that you want to make prayer the center of your life rather than just an aid to it. Say that you want to take up prayer as an end in itself. Say that you understand prayer to be the formal practice of submitting your will to God’s. And say that you think prayer should be at least as much about listening as talking. How long should you pray? Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Contributing

July 11, 2011 | 3 comments
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Over at BCC, Kristine opined last week on the subject of Mormon “intellectuals.” After admitting that knowing stuff can, in fact, be helpful, she concluded the following: “But this is the suspicion that was nagging at me during our conversation, and has not left me: intellectual gifts, like most of what we bring to the altar, are not nearly as valuable as we think they are.” Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Aligning

July 7, 2011 | 18 comments
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What exactly is it that you are trying to practice when you practice prayer? In particular, what exactly is it that you are trying to practice when you practice prayer as an end in itself rather than as a means to some other end? I take two things as axiomatic with respect to the practice of prayer. Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Deciding

July 6, 2011 | 16 comments
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Prayer can be approached as a means or as an end. You’re tired of using God as a crutch to get wherever else you want to go and finally decide, throwing it all over, to just make God your explicit destination. Consecration it is. The kingdom of God or nothing. Read more »