Blog Archives

Javelin Man

May 3, 2007 | 12 comments

I consider my brother-in-law to be a twisted genius (in a good, vaguely Wierd-Al-Yankovich sort of way). I am happy to say that the fruits of his desire to be a rock star, his labors as a scriptorian (his favorite Book of Mormon character is Teancum), and his calling as a road show director are now available on YouTube. Without further ado, here is the song that has rocked family reniuns for years…”Javelin Man” Read more »

God in the Elements and God in the Market

April 20, 2007 | 31 comments

I recently had a theological epiphany while reading a case about conditions precedent in crop insurance contracts. Read more »

A Sermon from My Past

April 19, 2007 | 9 comments

I recently came across a talk delivered in church by a missionary in 1994 who was about to depart for Pusan, Korea via the MTC. It was interesting (and a little mortifying) to read the words of my past self. Here is what I said: Read more »

Legal and Religious Irony on the BYU Website

April 18, 2007 | 12 comments

I recently ran across the “Education for Eternity” website put together by the BYU Faculty Center, which collects materials on Mormonism and higher education. It is not a bad collection, and given that William & Mary has no comperable collection, I appreciate that it is online. I couldn’t help but laughing, however, when I clicked to the section on law only to find a picture of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. staring at me. Holmes is a rightly iconic figure in the law, and I assume that he was added to provide a bit of jurisprudential ambiance. On the other... Read more »

Holy Week v. Passover

April 4, 2007 | 45 comments

Kristine is trying to get everyone reved up for Holy Week over at BCC. I wish her well, but I suspect that she isn’t going to succeed on this one. Read more »

PBS and the Bloggernacle

April 4, 2007 | 26 comments

The trailer is now online for PBS’s up-coming documentary extravaganza on “The Mormons.” You’ll be happy to know that the Bloggernacle had a bit part in the series’ production. Read more »

Spring Planting

April 3, 2007 | 45 comments
Spring Planting

Spring is here with a vengeance, and I don’t think there can be any real argument but that the land south of the Mason-Dixon Line does spring better than any other region of the country. Read more »

RSR and the William & Mary Book Store

March 30, 2007 | 23 comments

Much to the consternation of my wife (who handles our money), I am a rather frequent visitor to William & Mary’s book store. It has been a while since I glanced through their religion section (of late I have been buying poetry or history), but the other day I did glance through the “Mormon” section to see what they have. Read more »

Temples and God’s Discount Function

March 26, 2007 | 15 comments

I think that one of the reasons that God commanded Brigham Young to build the Salt Lake Temple was to signal his discount function. Read more »

The 16th Century Origins of a Mormon Idea

March 19, 2007 | 11 comments

The Mormon court system emerged from the much older tradition of ecclesiastical discipline among the English Protestants who settled North America. Read more »

Mormonism and the Memo to the Dean

March 16, 2007 | 13 comments

Earlier this week I engaged in what I am told is an annual academic ritual, and wrote a memo to the Dean explaining what I have done this year in terms of teaching, scholarship, and service. Since I have been engaged in a number of projects related to Mormon studies, the question arises should I include these in the memo? Does Mormonism “count” academically speaking? Read more »

The Poetry of Red Rocks

March 7, 2007 | 15 comments
The Poetry of Red Rocks

I am currently doing some research on Mormon legal history, and earlier today found myself reading through an old issue of Western Humanties Review from 1951. Read more »

Intelligences and Zion: An Essay in Mormon Political Philosophy (part IV, concluded)

February 24, 2007 | 10 comments

To read the previous sections of this essay, go here (Part I), here (Part II), and here (Part III). Read more »

Intelligences and Zion: An Essay in Mormon Political Philosophy (part III)

February 23, 2007 | 10 comments

To read the first section of this essay, go here (Part I) and here (Part II). Read more »

Intelligences and Zion: An Essay in Mormon Poltical Philosophy (part II)

February 22, 2007 | 18 comments

To read the first section of this essay, go here. Read more »

Intelligences and Zion: An Essay in Mormon Political Philosophy (part I)

February 21, 2007 | 17 comments

The following is an essay that I wrote several years ago and never published. I have divided the essay into four posts that will run over the next couple of days. Academics regularlly present unpublished papers at workshops where they get feedback and criticism. I want to experiment with a blog-based version of the same thing in which folks offer thoughts and criticism of the essay as they read it. Enjoy! Read more »

What is Church Doctrine? One Possible Theory…

February 20, 2007 | 23 comments

Church Doctrine is a ubiquitous idea among Mormons, but in some ways it is quite mysterious. Read more »

Brigham Young and the Spectacle of Litigation

February 16, 2007 | 15 comments

On February 24, 1856, Brigham Young delivered a blistering attack on lawyers and law courts. Read more »

Scripture and Interpretation: Some Thoughts Inspired by “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”

February 13, 2007 | 142 comments

A couple of weeks ago we had stake conference, and among other things the visiting authority talked about “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Among many good and true things, he said that we ought to treat the Proclamation as scripture and that the only reason it was not added to the Doctrine & Covenants is because President Hinckley didn’t want us to all have to go out and buy new scriptures. I don’t want to read too much into what was clearly an off the cuff remark, but this struck me as a rather facile attempt to... Read more »

The Power of Prayer

February 6, 2007 | 31 comments

I am something of a realist and a cynic. I assume that I basically have little or no power over the universe, and that there is almost nothing I can do to change that. You know the story of the guy walking along the beach and throwing back star fish. Someone points out that there are more star fish than he can possibly save, and he replies, “Perhaps, but I made a difference to that one,” throwing another star fish back into the ocean. I have to confess that my sympathies tend to be with the questioner. Read more »

Thoughts on Trying to Teach the Priests How to Read the Scriptures

February 1, 2007 | 14 comments

I am the secretary in my ward’s young men’s presidency and occasionally teach lessons to our priest’s quorum. I recently taught a series of lessons on how to study the scriptures better. Read more »

Further Complications in Excommunicating the President of the Church

January 17, 2007 | 32 comments

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post on the procedure for excommunicating the President of the Church. In doing a bit of research on the history of the church court system, I came across some interesting complications in the story. Read more »

The Institute for Mormon Studies

January 15, 2007 | 18 comments

The various threads about the position at CGU has gotten me thinking about what Mormon scholarship needs, and I think that it is probably not a chaired position in Mormon studies, welcome as such a thing might be (especially if it allows a prolific scholar to churn out a lot of high quality work on Mormon studies). Rather, I think that Mormons ought to look to the libertarian wing of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for models. Read more »

The Bushman Diaries

January 7, 2007 | 32 comments

On the Road With Joseph Smith: An Author’s Diary by Richard Bushman is a very difficult book to get a hold of, which is unfortunate. Read more »