Blog Archives

The Lost Books of the Bible (1609 Catholic edition)

February 19, 2012 | 12 comments
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The Lost Books of the Bible (1609 Catholic edition)

In 1609, Johannes Uber published the first part of his Very Useful and Necessary Disputation Concerning the Holy Bible (Von der heiligen Bibel sehr nützliche und nötige Disputation, VD17 1:050537Y) in which he argued for two points. First, that the Bible was no longer whole “because of the many lost holy books that the holy prophets and apostles wrote and referred to in their writings”; and second, that therefore those who leave the Catholic Church and rely only on the Bible cannot find salvation. Read more »

Ars moriendi

December 20, 2011 | 19 comments
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Ars moriendi

Yesterday I dedicated the grave of my grandfather, Verl Bagley, who by one measure spent his life at the end of the earth. Read more »

History of a book

December 11, 2011 | 16 comments
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History of a book

So I wrote a book. Not a Mormon book, but one in my academic field. I’ve been working on the book since just before my youngest daughter was born. She started first grade in September, and the book was published last week. The idea for the book came to me in 2005, Read more »

In Praise of Thanktimonies

November 23, 2011 | 18 comments
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Not all targets of our reflexive contempt are well chosen. Expressions of mere gratitude in our monthly testimony meetings are dismissed as ‘thanktimonies’ because they don’t quite cover any of the things a public expression of religious conviction is supposed to be about. But I think this disdain is misplaced, like scoffing at children for riding bicycles when they could instead careen around the neighborhood in outsized cars in which they cannot work the pedals and see over the dashboard at the same time. Read more »

Where do BYU students come from?

November 1, 2011 | 35 comments
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Where do BYU students come from?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has given us a new statistical toy to play with. Read more »

A Mother There? Notes on Paulsen and Pulido

September 14, 2011 | 35 comments
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David Paulsen and Martin Pulido’s survey of statements concerning Heavenly Mother in Mormon thought, recently published in BYU Studies, has earned a good amount of attention. It’s a thorough survey, and I only have two relatively minor criticisms. In addition, the article restricts itself to surveying statements rather than analyzing them, and I see a few possibilities for future analysis. Mostly I want to make a couple observations about the article, primarily that it doesn’t say quite as much as one might think. Read more »

Scent of a Mormon

August 8, 2011 | 25 comments
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Scent of a Mormon

The program for the annual convention of the Modern Language Association regularly includes the following request: The Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession reminds attendees that refraining from using perfume, cologne, and other scented products will help ensure the comfort of everyone at the convention. Read more »

Where are the Mormon Middle Ages?

May 22, 2011 | 17 comments
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Where are the Mormon Middle Ages?

Even though most Americans are thousands of miles from the nearest palace, fortress, or castle ruin, the European Middle Ages continue to play an outsized role in our imaginations (see: Disneyland, Hogwarts, Helm’s Deep). Read more »

Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht

May 14, 2011 | 20 comments
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Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht

Now that I’ve moved to BYU-Idaho, I occasionally (read: yesterday) get asked interesting questions when I’m at professional conferences, like: “How are you adjusting to life without caffeine?” Read more »

Are Mormons Cessationists?

February 8, 2011 | 84 comments
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Over at FPR, BiV asks, Are Mormons cessationists? The short answer is no. Read more »

What if they held an election, and no one blogged about it?

December 28, 2010 | 41 comments
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What if they held an election, and no one blogged about it?

Actually, that’s exactly what just happened. Sixty-three House seats changed hands in November, governors got voted in and out of office, statewide propositions got passed and defeated—without a single post, let alone an old-fashioned righteous flamewar, on the Mormon blogs I read regularly. Read more »

Gateway drugs for middle schoolers: Mormon Studies edition

December 9, 2010 | 27 comments
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I have a Christmas list, for a not-quite-teenager, with a gap that needs to be filled. Read more »

Castles made for sandboxes

November 27, 2010 | 4 comments
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Castles made for sandboxes

A few years ago, I walked half the circuit of a massive town wall. After hauling three kids and pushing a fourth in a stroller for a few hours through the forest, we recognized the wall by the close-packed rubble that stuck out from the crest of the long dirt mound. Read more »

Performance and Worship

November 10, 2010 | 25 comments
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Performance and Worship

I once almost joined the ward choir. What’s surprising about this is that I don’t actually sing. Read more »

Brother, can you spare a symposium?

July 30, 2010 | 26 comments
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Brother, can you spare a symposium?

Mormon Studies could be headed for a rough patch, because the career paths that make professional study of Mormon topics at least occasionally possible are disappearing. Read more »

Just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean you’re not there

July 27, 2010 | 43 comments
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The call for papers for the Third Biannual Faith and Knowledge Conference for LDS Graduate Students in Religion contains a sentence that is, I think, wrong in three different ways. Read more »

A post-Columbian setting for the Book of Mormon

July 11, 2010 | 54 comments
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A post-Columbian setting for the Book of Mormon

The result of writing Book of Mormon history from back to front, I think, resembles a cross between The Mission and Last of the Mohicans. Read more »

Looking for historicity in all the wrong places

July 7, 2010 | 34 comments
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Looking for historicity in all the wrong places

If you think that the textual history of the Book of Mormon includes historical records, then you can’t avoid the possibility that a lot of Book of Mormon scholarship has been looking for the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time, and reading the wrong verses. The problem is that Book of Mormon chronology is anchored in time only by the fall of Jerusalem and Christ’s appearance to the Nephites. But these events belong to sacral history, and their translation into historical chronology is not necessarily transparent. In the same way, the identification of the Nephites... Read more »

The blotted page of the book of nature

April 9, 2010 | 9 comments
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The blotted page of the book of nature

Despite a unique cosmology that has at times inspired artistic creation for a wider American audience, there is no Mormon astrology. Someone who knew Mormonism only through its scriptural texts might be forgiven for finding this omission curious. Read more »

Nibley vindicatus; or Göbekli Tepe: a personal view

March 3, 2010 | 33 comments
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Nibley vindicatus; or Göbekli Tepe: a personal view

I fell in love almost simultaneously, as a junior in high school, with historical linguistics and Hugh Nibley. Read more »

How to make Mormon literature great

February 14, 2010 | 54 comments
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How to make Mormon literature great

Glenn Beck, the soapbox orator of cable television, has done more, save Sheri Dew only, for the greatness of Mormon literature, than any other person that ever lived. Read more »

Dispensations

February 8, 2010 | 7 comments
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Dispensations

While the occurrence of a general apostasy is a matter of belief and not observable by historical inquiry, dispensations are born with a burst of documentary evidence. Read more »

November 9, 1989

November 9, 2009 | 20 comments
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Each anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is a bit embarrassing for me. Read more »

The Songs of Lehi

October 1, 2009 | 4 comments
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If we accept, at least for the moment, that 1 Nephi has a textual history, that it drew on older sources or underwent expansion at various times, then we might wonder what could be considered the oldest layer of the text Read more »