Cornucopia

What to Expect When You Are Expecting . . . A Bishopric Call

September 15, 2014 | 46 comments
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What to Expect When You Are Expecting . . . A Bishopric Call

So a dear friend of mine just got called to a new bishopric and wants to know the known knowns, the known unknowns, and, of course, the unknown unknowns. Read more »

My Experiment with Five Minute Prayers

September 15, 2014 | 25 comments
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2014-09-15 Prayer 01

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been setting a timer every time I say my evening prayers. This might sound like an absolutely terrible idea and, in some ways I guess it is. So before I tell you how that has worked out for me, let me explain why I would even consider such an idea in the first place. It starts with the idea of the curse of success. I first encountered this concept in Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose. They wrote that when a policy or technology becomes successful, it can be known more... Read more »

In Your Heart and Mind

September 11, 2014 | 9 comments
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My son came stomping into the house from the garden a month ago, demanding I punish his sister, Read more »

Elder Ballard: “Don’t Talk Too Much”

September 9, 2014 | 75 comments
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Today Elder Ballard spoke at the Europe Area Sisters’ Meeting. (Yes, the same meeting with the poster flap.) You can see the video here. Read more »

A self-guided walking tour of Higher Criticism

September 9, 2014 | 22 comments
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A self-guided walking tour of Higher Criticism

So I wrote another book. At first I thought that I was writing a short article to explain why two different Reformation-era prophecies share the same title, but the project kept expanding. Along the way, I changed the way I think about biblical textual criticism and the Documentary Hypothesis. Read more »

A temple, a temple, we already have a temple

September 2, 2014 | 13 comments
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Our invented tradition': the 'sea' as a baptismal funt

Yes, we do, a lot of temples, more than ever in history. We are, as the leaders never stop telling us, a temple building people, and if anything distinguishes us from our fellow-Christians it is our temples. For us the temple is a crucial religious and ritual focus, the apex of our notion of holiness; it is also somehow a link with a distant past, with the deep salvation history of mankind, through Israel. Indeed, one of the themes running through the Old Testament is exactly that of the temple. But what is temple, and what continuity is there... Read more »

Truth and Contradiction in Religious Communities

September 2, 2014 | 9 comments
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Guru Nanak with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana and Sikh Gurus. (Wikimedia)

A couple of weeks ago I listened to the audiobook of Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction. As that was the first thing I’ve read on the topic (other than a multitude of Wikipedia entries) I by no means consider myself some kind of expert, but I was struck by several parallels and differences between Sikhism and Mormonism. The little I have learned has already helped me to see my own faith in new ways. In terms of similarities, Mormonism and Sikhism are both relatively new religions that arguably constitute a culture or a people (in addition to a religion)... Read more »

Book Review: The Crucible of Doubt

August 30, 2014 | 46 comments
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Book Review: The Crucible of Doubt

Terryl and Fiona Givens, The Crucible of Doubt, Deseret Book, 145 pages. Read more »

The Problem with Local Change

August 29, 2014 | 53 comments
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Imagine that everything in the church is precisely the way that it is now with two exceptions: Read more »

Book Review: The Miracles of Jesus

August 29, 2014 | 5 comments
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Book Review: The Miracles of Jesus

 Eric D. Huntsman, The Miracles of Jesus, Deseret Book, 164 pages. Read more »

Women and the Church – Constructively Engaging the Arguments

August 24, 2014 | 104 comments
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Women and the Church – Constructively Engaging the Arguments

I’m going to describe the dialectical geography as I see it, in order to try and help readers at T&S do better at constructively engaging the arguments in what I consider to be an issue of absolutely fundamental importance. Read more »

We Are Made to Suffer

August 18, 2014 | 46 comments
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2014-08-18 Guernica

In centuries gone by the best you could hope for in the case of an aching tooth would be that someone would yank it out, but thanks to modern medicine we can detect cavities and fill them before they start to cause any pain at all. Of course, the drilling of the tooth itself is painful, so you can have your tooth numbed with an injection. Someone jabbing a sharp needle into your gums isn’t a walk in the park either, so you can have some topical gel applied before the shot. Just to recap: you get a numbing... Read more »

12 Questions for Miranda Wilcox and John Young, Editors of Standing Apart—Part II

August 16, 2014 | 8 comments
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Here are the six remaining questions in our series with Miranda Wilcox and John Young, continued from Part I. 7. How much of what you do in this book should we understand as theology, as opposed to, say, history? Miranda: Religious communities perform theological work when they tell historical narratives. Remembering and memorializing their divine origins is crucial for communities to maintain distinctive self-identities and to realize their divine mandate. We see examples of this process when Israel retells the story of their ancestors’ deliverance from captivity in Egypt or when Lehi’s descendants retell the story of their family’s... Read more »

The Hypothetical “Missionary Library”

August 15, 2014 | 41 comments
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The Hypothetical “Missionary Library”

As a companion piece to Dave’s post on missionaries, let’s talk about the approved missionary library. I have concerns about what missionaries study, know, and teach. The typical missionary develops far more motivation to read and study “the literature of the Church” than before the mission, but is far more restricted, although mission presidents have leeway to relax this. Certainly the primary content of missionary study should be scripture and the doctrine, but I think by narrowing the library too much, we miss real opportunities both for the missionaries themselves and the people they teach. Read more »

Book Review: Way Below the Angels

August 13, 2014 | 17 comments
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Book Review: Way Below the Angels

Craig Harline, Way Below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled but Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary This may be the most painful book I have ever read.   Read more »

Book Review: A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

August 12, 2014 | 21 comments
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Book Review: A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

How much did I like this book? So much that I do not regret the night of sleep that I lost to my inability to put it down. (That has literally never happened to me before. I always hate myself in the morning.) Read more »

A Day in the Life

August 11, 2014 | 5 comments
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I wrote this a few months ago and forget to post it. Read more »

12 Questions for Miranda Wilcox and John Young, editors of Standing Apart—Part I

August 8, 2014 | 12 comments
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Miranda Wilcox (BYU) and John Young (Flagler College) have recently published Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy, a collection of essays examining the Mormon narrative of apostasy and restoration in light of the history of Christianity. It is published by Oxford University Press, in both hardcover and paperback. They have kindly shared responses to 12 Questions about their project. I am including six in this post; the remaining six will follow soon in Part II. 1. What led you into this project, and how did it take shape? Miranda: Although John and I grew up... Read more »

FairConference, Thursday Afternoon Sessions

August 7, 2014 | one comment
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Bob Rees A review of Earl Wunderli’s Imperfect Book   Started with this Card Colour changing trick video (http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/colour-changing-card-trick-outtakes/) to illustrate that too much focus on one thing can cause you miss the many other things that are going on. What aren’t you noticing? Emerson said,  “Tell me your sect, and I’ll tell you your argument.” How we approach the Book of Mormon will determine what we find within it.  Rees was impressed with Earl’s thoroughness. He has read extensively and carefully. He approached as though cross-examining it in a court of law, and like any good lawyer making... Read more »

FairMormon Conference Thursday Morning Sessions

August 7, 2014 | 5 comments
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I’m not quite up to live blogging, so my coverage of FAIR will lag slightly behind the fact. I will be posting summaries of talks posted after completion rather than subjecting you to my sloppy notes in real time. Kerry Muehlstein, Ph. D. Brigham Young University Unnoticed assumptions about The Book of Abraham While the assumptions discussed in this talk are applied to Abraham, they also have more general application. What is apologetics? Apologetics to some means to try to defend a certain assumption. For Muehlstein, it means to try to understand what is true, what is accurate. In... Read more »

Performing Mark

August 7, 2014 | 14 comments
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Performing Mark

It would seem that when a text is nearly two thousand years old, there might not be a whole lot new to say about it. But this isn’t the case for the Gospel of Mark. Read more »

Summertime Notes of a Liturgical Junkie

August 5, 2014 | 8 comments
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Summertime Notes of a Liturgical Junkie

Four Services Worth Writing Home About. Mormon Service: An “International Ward” in Western Europe. (No, this picture to the left is not of a Mormon chapel, alas. It’s just an action shot to suggest what being a LJ might involve.) Up on the podium, the bishop is a Wasatch-Front-origined temporary-resident white Anglonavian Mormon, as is one of the councilors, while the other is a recently-immigrated black African Mormon. The main congregational constituents not represented in the bishopric are the old-time local converts, who now occupy a mere quarter of the pews they used to dominate, and whose once unchallenged... Read more »

BYUNTC Conference Videos

August 4, 2014 | 3 comments
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The videos from May’s conference are now available here. Read more »

A gospel born in grief

July 31, 2014 | 3 comments
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A gospel born in grief

It is time now to ponder, after the silence of bereavement. For me the gospel is sometimes hard to believe, often an intellectual challenge, but always a comforting presence. Things go wrong in this world (well, many things go right as well) but in our day and age the things that do go wrong seem to do that in a grand way. The downing of MZ17 was one of these. What comfort can I find in the scriptures, how does the Old Testament – as that is what we are reading at this time – relate to the afflictions... Read more »