Blog Archives

All opposed, by the same sign

November 4, 2008 | 132 comments

On the issues I care about (and therefore not including the topic addressed from various perspectives so eloquently by my esteemed colleagues), I prefer the positions of the Democratic Party platform and candidate. I directly benefited from Barack Obama’s work as a state senator while I lived in Illinois, he seems to know what he’s talking about on important issues, and it looks like he ran a pretty competent campaign. For my taste, McCain and Palin didn’t offer much more than the politics of fear and resentment, and they seemed more likely to stay trapped in the conflicts of... Read more »

Proposition 8, the American mainstream, and the unspeakable

October 30, 2008 | 129 comments

Most online discussions of gay marriage are not worth the effort, because no actual discussion takes place Read more »

A Nobel calling

October 13, 2008 | 24 comments

I’m very happy to see this year’s Nobel Prize in economics going to Paul Krugman, whose columns in the New York Times helped me see the importance of the discipline of economics as nothing else ever had. I think Mormon scholarship could use more scholars like Paul Krugman (quite apart from the Nobel and the weekly NYT column) Read more »


September 25, 2008 | 25 comments

Every medium has an inherent vice. While any form of media can be misused, there is a flaw lurking in the fundamental nature of each medium. Television exaggerates fear, as it transmits the worst events or most scandalous entertainment from the outside world into our homes. Movies indulge our self-deluding fantasies of escape or celebrity. Radio encourages the presumption, in the secrecy of our private chambers, that we sing and dance every bit as good as Milli Vanilli. The inherent vice of the Internet is shame Read more »

Missions, art, and surveillance

September 11, 2008 | 23 comments

One unique aspect of the missionary experience, quite distinct from life before and after, is the feeling that someone is always watching you. It’s probably the one aspect of my mission that I could have done without, although I wouldn’t say that it was entirely unproductive. Read more »

Christ’s nativity: a solution

July 27, 2008 | 23 comments

From Steven Vanden Broecke, The Limits of Influence Read more »

Foundation and Apostasy

July 12, 2008 | 31 comments

What if the historical evidence for the foundation of the early Christian church is indistinguishable from evidence for its apostasy? What if the early church and its scriptures only arose through processes of decay? Read more »

Resurrection B.C.

July 5, 2008 | 19 comments

According to an article in the New York Times today, evidence of Jewish belief in a resurrected Messiah decades before Christ’s birth may have been discovered. Read more »

The Temple in European Mormon Sociality

July 1, 2008 | 30 comments

The temple plays a role in the social life of European Mormons that is significantly different in a couple of ways from the usual American experience. Read more »

In Praise of the Elders Quorum Moving Service

June 23, 2008 | 78 comments

Unless I’m carrying boxes, I’m probably not actually helping anybody. Read more »

Mormonism for me, but not for thee

June 18, 2008 | 46 comments

Comments are now open Is a Mormon universalism possible? Or in other words, is it possible for Mormons to envision their faith as one of many efficacious paths to God? I have my doubts, but maybe there is an argument to be made Read more »

You can’t leave home again

June 14, 2008 | 10 comments

At the end of my junior year of high school, I caught a glimpse of my graduating student body president one last time Read more »

Our patchwork ward family

June 12, 2008 | 49 comments

There are advantages to attending a ward too small for fixed wooden benches in the chapel Read more »

Eurovision’s Mormon Moment

May 24, 2008 | 23 comments

From the international annals of overachieving singing and dancing Mormons The Mormon moment for the Eurovision Song Contest came in 1984 Read more »

Heimskringla and historicity

May 8, 2008 | 47 comments

There’s a reasonable chance that all efforts to situate the Book of Mormon over the last 180 years, geographically, culturally, and chronologically, are based on the Nephite version of the Donation of Constantine. But first, let’s talk about Odin. Read more »

Gertrud Specht

May 6, 2008 | 9 comments

Gertrud Specht had been a searcher her whole life before she found what she was looking for Read more »

Prophets and textual criticism

April 25, 2008 | 33 comments

The Book of Mormon poses a thorny problem for assumptions about the history of scriptural texts, especially if it isn’t true Read more »

What’s Wrong with Ancient Research in Mormon Studies

April 9, 2008 | 57 comments

Mormon Studies has become a relic area for outdated ideas about texts and their transmission. That becomes clear in reading a number of contributions to Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy (FARMS, 2005) Read more »

History, apostasy, and faith-promoting rumors

March 30, 2008 | 29 comments

Mormon belief in an early Christian apostasy suggests a couple of historiographic projects that are, I think, doomed to failure, but there might be an alternative Read more »

BYU: The Crimson or the Crimson Tide of the West?

March 24, 2008 | 55 comments

Actually, it’s more like the Intermountain Cornhuskers, or the Mormon Maccabees Read more »

Is priesthood authority a historical category?

March 20, 2008 | 21 comments

No, it isn’t. Which means that defining an early Christian apostasy as the loss of priesthood authority doesn’t tell us anything, even in a Mormon framework, about the apostasy as a historical event Read more »


March 15, 2008 | 17 comments

When we arrived at church two weeks ago, everything looked normal. The building was clean and not a chair was out of place. Read more »

Literacy, Literalism, and the Isaiah Chapters of the Book of Mormon

March 11, 2008 | 19 comments

One of the distinctive features of the Book of Mormon is its pervasive anxiety about literacy Read more »


February 22, 2008 | 7 comments

Regina Spektor’s contribution to the underrepresented lyrical genre of speculative historical romance suggests, from the perspective of Delilah, that the story could have ended differently: Read more »