Blog Archives

Happy Mother’s Day

May 13, 2012 | 12 comments
By
Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a bit like Christmas time in terms of the mass solicitations sent out from various NGOs. To be honest, these are perhaps the only mass emails that I don’t mind. And I frankly agree with their general point: what better way to wish your own mother a Happy Mother’s Day than by contributing to another mother in her name? Read more »

Mormon Intellectuals Part III: My Postscript

February 27, 2012 | 12 comments
By

(See here for Jim’s original post, here for part I, and here for part II)  In my original response to Jim, I wrote the following: While I’ve tried to be fair and accurate, it may be that I’m misreading , that I’m mistaken in my analysis of their position. Even if that turns out to be the case, I believe that explicitly laying out this Toscano-Faulconer spectrum is a very useful tool, one that helps us all to orient ourselves to the various possibilities that exist for intellectuals, and allows me to argue in favor of a... Read more »

Mormon Intellectuals Part II: Jim’s Comments

February 26, 2012 | one comment
By

I had previously intended to post some of Jim’s comments from an email. Instead, I’m re-posting his response to Part I here in order to further highlight what he has to say. I’ll follow this up with one more post tomorrow. Jim’s comments are as follows: I cannot tell you how touched and flattered I am by your piece, both by the kind things you say in the beginning and by the very fact that you’ve thought something I wrote worthy of such a careful, thoughtful response. My response to your essay is that I disagree with almost nothing. I think... Read more »

Mormon Intellectuals: A Response to Jim Faulconer

February 25, 2012 | 39 comments
By

I disagree with some important parts of Jim’s recent piece on intellectuals in the Church (please read what he said first). By the end, I hope it’s clear that it is (in part) for “Faulconerian” reasons that I disagree with him. To begin, I’m going to indulge in a bit of biographical narcissism in order to make a point about the nature of my disagreement. The semester recently began, and as I do at the beginning of nearly every course, I told the students a story about Jim Faulconer, or rather about my undergraduate self in one of Jim’s... Read more »

Reassessing the theological side of the Compromise

February 18, 2012 | 21 comments
By
Reassessing the theological side of the Compromise

Terryl Givens’ recently wrote about the American compromise with Mormonism, whereby Mormons agreed not to be so radical as to entirely alienate themselves from American society (i.e., ditch polygamy and our lovely Deseret) in exchange for the U.S. ceasing its explicit campaign to eradicate us. He describes the unwritten contours of that compromise as consisting in a willingness to accept and even promote the various cultural achievements of Mormonism (e.g., our choir, football, family focus), while agreeing to shelve any serious engagement with our theology. One can hear the variation on a popular General Conference theme when he writes: “In opting... Read more »

Sunday School Questions

February 4, 2012 | 16 comments
By
Sunday School Questions

We recently had a teacher training workshop in our ward. There was a good turn out with lots of very positive contributions and an overall great discussion. For my own part I talked about the use of questions as a teacher. I’m sharing what I prepared since it may be useful for some of you, but even moreso because I’m interested in your feedback. Do you take issue with any of my points about the use of questions? Are there other reasons or ways we ought to use questions in a Sunday (or in our case, Friday) School setting?... Read more »

Book Review: Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

January 7, 2012 | 2 comments
By
Book Review: Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

“If Pratt wanted to leave for posterity a record of his apostolic role in providential history, he also wanted to leave for futurity the story of the flesh and blood Parley P. Pratt (393).” Regardless of whether we agree with Givens & Grow on this point, it is the lens through which we ought to view their recent biography. Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism is a substantial addition to Pratt’s timeworn autobiography, an attempt to fill out our understanding of the man – both who Pratt was and also the critical (though often overlooked) contribution he... Read more »

My testimony

December 27, 2011 | 9 comments
By

I’m no stranger to doubt and scepticism – I’m as much a child of conflicted modernity as anyone and it has been years since the majority of those close to me have professed an unwavering belief – and context is as relevant to testimony as anything else. But tonight I want to state candidly and unreservedly: I believe. There’s something genuinely magical (and I feel that quickening magic now) in the bearing of a testimony – I count my experience with testimony as one of the grand mysteries I’ve encountered in life.  I can’t help but continually try to... Read more »

Why Bloom, et al are wrong

November 22, 2011 | 12 comments
By
Why Bloom, et al are wrong

Harold Bloom’s recent NY Times article on Mormonism & politics was tremendously disappointing. The sheer volume of poorly (or dishonestly) researched writing on Mormonism this season is exhausting; and to get this sort of long worn-out, conspiracy minded expression of clichés from someone as well educated as Bloom is downright disheartening (though to be fair, we’ve gotten a good deal of serious journalism as well). But I’m actually not much interested in that side of Bloom’s article. Let me quickly bring up two other points from the article. First, Bloom states this: The founding prophet Joseph Smith…highly original revelation... Read more »

Times & Seasons Welcome Sarah Bringhurst Familia

October 7, 2011 | 13 comments
By

Times & Seasons is pleased to introduce Sarah Bringhurst Familia as our newest guest blogger. Sarah grew up in California, where she and her four siblings were homeschooled (back in the good old days when homeschooling was weird and subversive, not hip and progressive). She received her BA in Near Eastern Studies at BYU, and served a mission in Santiago, Chile. After their marriage and the birth of their first child, Sarah and her husband Tony took their two-month-old baby on a summer field study to the Philippines, where they slept in nipa huts, backpacked into mountain villages, and... Read more »

My Wife’s Exercise of the Priesthood in Our Home

September 29, 2011 | 81 comments
By
My Wife’s Exercise of the Priesthood in Our Home

My Wife’s Exercise of the Priesthood in Our Home (or Response to Alison part III) Here a people of godly race are born for heaven; the Spirit gives them life in the fertile waters. The Church-Mother, in these waves, bears her children like virginal fruit she has conceived by the Holy Spirit. I love this inscription. For me, it makes of baptism the center of a multi-axes union of male and female, convert and community, earth and heaven – reminiscent of our earlier discussions, and a perfect preamble to this one. (Actually, the preamble’s going to on for a... Read more »

Which Mormon are You Voting For?

September 26, 2011 | 14 comments
By
Which Mormon are You Voting For?

One of the gloriously enriching experiences in marriage – at least in my marriage – is all of the truly wonderful people that my wife has brought into my life. One of these persons is Sarah Bringhurst Familia – a brilliant, homeschooling mother, who also happens to be a pillar of global citizenship. Since marrying, she and her husband have lived in a number of exotic locations, including Utah, California, The Philippines, Ireland, Italy, and most recently Tunisia. With both a degree and lots of life experience centering around the Middle East, she’s a trenchant observer of current affairs... Read more »

Statements on Heavenly Mother

September 15, 2011 | 27 comments
By
Statements on Heavenly Mother

I thought a good companion to Jonathan’s recent post would be a list of quotations by church authorities on Heavenly Mother found in Paulsen’s & Pulido’s recent BYU studies article, “A Mother There.” I do not list them in the same order as they’re found in the article, nor do I list all of the quotations found in their article (not to mention the hundreds more that they’ve accumulated) – but let me be clear about the fact that I’ve culled them directly from the article. The quotes themselves are clearly in the public domain, but it still feels... Read more »

12 Questions with Grant Hardy – part II

September 8, 2011 | 10 comments
By
12 Questions with Grant Hardy – part II

Here is the conclusion of Times & Seasons look at Grant Hardy’s new book Understanding the Book of Mormon, and the second half of our 12 Questions interview: Read more »

12 Questions with Grant Hardy – part I

September 7, 2011 | 30 comments
By
12 Questions with Grant Hardy – part I

To cap off our roundtable review of Grant Hardy’s new book Understanding the Book of Mormon we’re fortunate to feature an interview with the book’s author. The interview will be posted in two parts. Our thanks to all who have participated, and especially Bro. Hardy. Read more »

Response to Alison – part II

August 29, 2011 | 27 comments
By
Response to Alison – part II

Here’s a second post, responding to issues raised in Alison’s Serving on the Sidelines. Moses 6:59-60: That by reasons of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and by blood, and by the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the... Read more »

Response to Alison – part I

August 29, 2011 | 35 comments
By
Response to Alison – part I

Alison has a talent for writing trenchant posts in general – posts that point to the heart of an issue – particularly as concerns women’s issues. This post is a response to her latest (please read first). Read more »

Bootstrapping a Book of Mormon Readership

August 17, 2011 | 14 comments
By
Bootstrapping a Book of Mormon Readership

Compare this classic statement of Richard Bushman, meant to encapsulate his own efforts as part of the New Mormon History movement: As more and more historians work to situate Mormonism in American history, Mormons like me want to join the discussion. We will write better if we are less defensive, more open to criticism, more exploratory and venturous, but even with our inhibitions and parochialisms, we should come to the table with our Mormonism intact. with this statement from Grant Hardy: As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becomes a world religion, the need for our traditional... Read more »

Grant Hardy Week at Times & Seasons

August 15, 2011 | 6 comments
By
Grant Hardy Week at Times & Seasons

Times and Seasons is excited this week to present to you a roundtable series review of Grant Hardy’s recent book Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (Oxford 2010). The upcoming posts will not only acquaint you with book itself, but also provide our opinionated responses, and of course, allow you all to join in the fray. Best of all, Brother Hardy has agreed to participate in a 12 Questions Interview that will cap off the whole affair. To begin, for those of you not already familiar, we want to introduce the author himself. Dr. Grant Hardy is... Read more »

Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

June 23, 2011 | 33 comments
By
Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

My sister Morgan has spent this year in very rural northern Uganda, working with refugee women on a project called Paper to Pearls (these women make and sell incredibly beautiful jewelry out of recycled paper, often the only source of real income to their large families, and which often goes to support the community at large). Much like letters from the mission field, what she writes about this experience has been hilarious, humbling, faith inspiring, and quintessentially Mormon. I wanted to share one such nugget that she wrote: When my grandfather passed away one year ago in March, I... Read more »

My Fathers – My Ancestors

June 19, 2011 | 4 comments
By
My Fathers – My Ancestors

A Happy Father’s Day to all! My day’s been celestially filled with family, great meals, and rainbow drawings/notes from my children. And on top of it all I’ve had the rare opportunity to sit quietly in an idyllic spot and read The Book of Abraham – an appropriate text for Father’s Day if ever there was one. In reading and talking through some of the verses with my wife – who already seems to have the great knowledge and the greater knowledge that I, like Abraham, seek for – we spent some time on that conspicuous word that pops... Read more »

Taking Section 89 Seriously

June 2, 2011 | 107 comments
By
Taking Section 89 Seriously

Which revelations we cherish and consider central, and which one’s we sideline and (sometimes literally) forget is surely a result of a complex host of variables. Local culture and politics are obviously a huge deal. The Word of Wisdom is a revelation that is particularly interesting Read more »

12 Questions with David E. Campbell Part II

January 2, 2011 | 18 comments
By
12 Questions with David E. Campbell Part II

Here is Part II of our 12 Questions interview with David E. Campbell, co-author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (see here for Part I). In this half of the interview Campbell answers questions related specifically to his and Robert Putnam’s research concerning Mormonism. 1. Mormons feature prominently in this book. I’m biased to say that this is because, as you state on page 15, Mormonism is a “highly distinctive tradition that, because of size, often neglected in analyses of the American religious environment.” Despite our currently being in “the Mormon moment,” however, I... Read more »

12 Questions with David E. Campbell – Part I

December 31, 2010 | 16 comments
By
12 Questions with David E. Campbell – Part I

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell is deservedly receiving a great deal of attention. It is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and significant sociological examination of religion in America to be published in decades, and perhaps ever. Aside from the sheer mass of sociological data that this book makes available in a magnificently readable format (the book is page turner), the book is also a tour de force of sociological analysis and interpretation. People in all fields related to religion in America are giving careful attention to this very important... Read more »