Blog Archives

What is the doctrinal status of the car-wreck story?

April 17, 2010 | 57 comments

It’s a story we’ve all heard, and it’s still in wide circulation. For instance, from the current YW manual: President Spencer W. Kimball told the following true story: “A few years ago a young couple who lived in northern Utah came to Salt Lake City for their marriage. They did not want to bother with a temple marriage, or perhaps they did not feel worthy. At any rate, they had a civil marriage. After the marriage they got into their automobile and drove north to their home for a wedding reception. On their way home they had an accident,... Read more »

April 4th

April 4, 2010 | 2 comments

I’ve loved the Holy Week series that Eric has posted. I hope I’m not interrupting with this post. But I think it’s fitting this Easter to also remember other pioneers and prophets who have given their lives to help make men free — and especially so, when one such man died 42 years ago today. And so I hope you’ll permit a link to a hymn of a different sort, a poem which openly connects the lives of two people who lived and died . . . in the name of love. Read more »

Missionary work, common ground, ethics, and deception

March 17, 2010 | 29 comments

A fascinating New York Times article and follow up blog post discuss negative reactions to a build-on-common-ground Christian missionary initiative among Muslims. The blog post details: An outreach technique that some Baptist missionaries use with Muslims. It involves stressing commonalities between the Koran and the Bible and affirming that the Allah of the Koran and the God of the Bible are one and the same. . . . The “overture” — the missionary’s initial bonding with Muslims via discussion of the Koran — is precision-engineered to undermine their allegiance to Islam. This approach is quite similar to what I... Read more »

If Glenn Beck followed his own instructions, he’d be an ex-Mormon

March 9, 2010 | 161 comments

Well known LDS political pundit Glenn Beck recently told his radio listeners that they should leave churches with the words “social justice” or “economic justice” on their websites: I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!” This overheated rhetoric has already drawn fire from Catholics and Protestants. But it’s not just Protestants and Catholics who are in trouble. In fact, if... Read more »

Heresy and Adding Upon

February 19, 2010 | 50 comments

Many Mormons find that many Christian discussions are compatible with Mormon belief. We cheerfully borrow from C.S. Lewis, for instance, simply adding a Mormon gloss to Lewis’s statements; we happily listen to Switchfoot or Joy Williams. The idea of adding upon a Christian foundation has become popular in missionary discussion, as well. President Hinckley said, “To people everywhere we simply say, You bring with you all the good that you have and let us add to it.” This approach is a popular one, and is often viewed as a friendly gesture, a recognition that Christian belief is foundational in... Read more »

How Christian were the Founders?

February 12, 2010 | 24 comments

That’s the topic of this fascinating NYT article. The article probably spends a little too much time poking fun at the backward Texans (though it’s so easy); but also does a good job of laying out the complicated question of deciphering just how Christian the founders were. My favorite quote: Or, as Brookhiser rather succinctly summarizes the point: “The founders were not as Christian as would like them to be, though they weren’t as secularist as Christopher Hitchens would like them to be.” (Also, the scary Texans do get really scary for parts of the piece.) What... Read more »

5 things to do while waiting for Feminist Mormon Housewives to return

February 7, 2010 | 23 comments

Feminist Mormon Housewives is one of our favorite bloggernacle blogs, with a strong core of bloggers, a variety of smart and lively posts, and a great community. Unfortunately, FMH has been down for the past two days, a victim of the patriarchy — err, of a server crash. Lisa is optimistic that the blog will be up and running again soon. (Crosses fingers.) Meanwhile, what’s an FMH reader supposed to do in the interim? Here is one list of ideas: 1. Go check out the FMH Facebook group, where a variety of fun and interesting FMH-related discussions are taking... Read more »

Scholars Testify

February 6, 2010 | 11 comments

If you haven't yet done so, take a look at the discussions over at Mormon Scholars Testify, where a set of fascinating and often familiar voices, including Jim Faulconer, Wilfried Decoo, Richard Bushman, Kevin Barney, Blake Ostler, David H. Bailey, and dozens more, describe the foundations of their beliefs. It's a great project, and well worth checking out. Read more »

Church widget for Haiti

January 27, 2010 | one comment

Some earlier comments have asked what steps the church has taken to publicize Haiti relief. One promising sign is a new widget, suitable for blogs or other media like Facebook, giving readers a link to the LDS humanitarian services online portal. According to the widget, almost 25,000 people have donated so far. If your means allow, I’d encourage you to add to that number, or to donate through other channels. Read more »

Shape-Shifting Lizards — Could They Be in Your Ward?

January 23, 2010 | 29 comments

It’s been six years since we last warned our readers about the danger. Six years of danger, of vulnerability, of widespread ignorance. Six years for more innocent people to die — and to be replaced by the lizards. Yes, we have been remiss in our duties. But no longer. To quote noted herpetologist* Dan Peterson: For those who’ve wondered — and (let’s be truthful) who hasn’t? — whether the Church is actually controlled by demonic entities in the form of reptilian humanoids, or lizard men, you’ll find the evidence you’ve been seeking on this explosive Web site. Well, don’t... Read more »

Plausible deniability (updated)

January 20, 2010 | 119 comments

Initial reports from hearings in the Prop 8 case today paraphrase an internal campaign document (see below for update) with the following language: With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved. The proceedings are not being televised (over plaintiffs objections), and the case remains in early stages. Today’s arguments only examined the admissibility of documents; and this is not a direct quote from the document as far... Read more »

Martin Luther King on Religion and Social Justice

January 18, 2010 | 11 comments

From the Letter from Birmingham Jail: There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction... Read more »

A New Year’s Exhortation

January 1, 2010 | 7 comments

A new century dawns upon the world today. The hundred years just completed were the most momentous in the history of man upon this planet. It would be impossible in a hundred days to make even a brief summary of the notable events, the marvelous developments, the grand achievements, and the beneficial inventions and discoveries, which mark the progress of the ten decades now left behind in the ceaseless march of humanity. The very mention of the nineteenth century suggests advancement, improvement, liberty, and light. Happy are we to have lived amidst its wonders and shared in the riches... Read more »

The New Book

January 1, 2010 | 25 comments

There’s an interesting article by Peggy Fletcher Stack about some of the changes in the revised _Gospel Principles_ manual. Among other things, references to _Mormon Doctrine_ have been removed. T&S’s Julie Smith asks some good questions — “Over the years, I’ve heard many, many people express that the Teachings of the Prophets books were very difficult to teach from, so I’m sensing some relief with the shift to the new manuals,” says Julie M. Smith, a stay-at-home mom with a degree in biblical studies. “At the same time, there is a new concern: How does a teacher make a... Read more »

ICE agents impersonating missionaries to make arrests

December 26, 2009 | 44 comments

At least, that's what's alleged in this interview with UCSB professor Jacqueline Stevens: Read more »

Unsung: By prophet bards foretold

December 20, 2009 | 7 comments

The text "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear," written by Unitarian minister Edward Sears, included haunting verses about war and social inequity. Nowadays, there are several versions of the hymn, as different denominations (including the LDS church) have altered the words in one form or other. The original words remain well worth reading (and singing) this Christmas season: Read more »

8 cow women

December 15, 2009 | 6 comments

The inimitable ladies of Feminist Mormon Housewives are raising money for Heifer International again this year. This is a charity which buys cows (and ducks and chickens) for impoverished villagers in third-world countries; it's hard to think of a better cause. If you're able to pitch in, I encourage you to click over to FMH and help them become a blog full of 8 (or more!) cow women. Read more »

An initial question

December 14, 2009 | 39 comments

Why do we use first initials for LDS leaders who otherwise use their middle names? M. Russell, L. Tom, D. Todd, L. Whitney -- we all know who these people are. What is the reason for continued usage of first initials, rather than simply saying "Russell Ballard" or "Todd Christopherson"? Read more »

When spam gets weird

December 11, 2009 | 17 comments

Blog spam is depressingly common (though our filter is top notch); one common spam tactic is a comment which says “hi” or “great post” but then links to some sketchy porn site or gambling or the like. We just got a series of comments which were a variant of those, from some spammer in Italy. I’m not sure if it’s a language issue, if they’re trying to evade filters, or both, but the language was decidedly quirky, enough that it caught my eye. For instance: What’s up everybody under the sun, I’m chic to the forum and justified wanted... Read more »

Whatever happened to Jesus?

December 9, 2009 | 51 comments

Are we as church members downplaying Jesus? I don’t mean this in a theological sense; rather, it seems to me that church members (and leaders) tend to de-emphasize the use of the single-name description Jesus. We regularly use the name Jesus when it is associated with the title Christ. However, when we use a single-word name, LDS speakers — unlike speakers I’ve heard from other denominations — tend to use the name Christ, not Jesus. Read more »

Thanksgiving Scriptures

November 26, 2009 | 7 comments

That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you. -Alma 34:38 Read more »

Parents are people

November 20, 2009 | 32 comments

It’s been a stressful time for us. My father in law had been battling leukemia for over a year, when he suddenly took a turn for the worse. FIL’s illness lasted a few more weeks, and he finally passed away. This has affected the family in a number of ways; most importantly for this post, it resulted in a complicated set of travel plans. Read more »

Happy Birthday to Us

November 16, 2009 | 2 comments

Thanks to reader Clair for pointing this out in comments: The first issue of the Times and Seasons was published at Nauvoo. — 170 years ago today – Nov 15, 1839 . Happy birthday to us! Read more »

From the Archives: The Reynolds Jury Charge

November 5, 2009 | 5 comments

The trial court in Reynolds v. United States gave the following jury charge, which the Supreme Court later found was proper and not inflammatory. I think it not improper, in the discharge of your duties in this case, that you should consider what are to be the consequences to the innocent victims of this delusion. Read more »