Cornucopia

4 o’clock

October 20, 2014 | 10 comments
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4 o’clock

A few years ago, my sister handed me a lumpy white envelope for Christmas. I opened it carefully, able to feel the jumble of small parts beneath my fingertips. Inside were perhaps 30 or 40 small, dark seeds. “Um. Cool,” I said, mystified. Read more »

Recommended NT Resources, Part 1: Translations, Text, and the Bible in General

October 10, 2014 | 20 comments
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Recommended NT Resources, Part 1: Translations, Text, and the Bible in General

(Cross-posted at Benjamin the Scribe) We’re 80% of the way through our Old Testament, and the time has come to start looking forward. As I did for the Old, so I will do for the New. This time, I’ll break it up into a few posts, probably a few weeks apart. As before, the absolute best and easiest thing you can do to increase the quality and frequency of your Bible study is to replace/supplement your KJV with a different translation. You can do it with a free app or website, or go old school and buy hardcover. I... Read more »

Do Women Count?

October 9, 2014 | 130 comments
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Do Women Count?

Here are the words that President Uchtdorf used in his talk at the General Women’s Meeting:   I am honored to have this opportunity to be with you as we open another general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the coming week the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles will meet with all the General Authorities and general auxiliary leaders, and the remaining sessions of our worldwide general conference will follow on the coming Saturday and Sunday. Read more »

A supplementary lesson plan for October 2014 Sharing Time, week 2

October 9, 2014 | 48 comments
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I love Primary. It’s my favorite place to serve in the Church, and if I had my way I’d serve there for the rest of my life. This month’s Sharing Time theme is “‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ Came from God to Help My Family.” Looking through the October lesson plans in the 2014 outline, week 2 caught my eye: “Marriage between a man and a woman is essential to God’s plan.”  The topic — the importance of marriage — is one that matters a lot to me. I thought that the suggested lesson plan could do... Read more »

Forgetting Kolob

October 8, 2014 | 47 comments
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Forgetting Kolob

General Conference is the central forum for official instruction in Mormon doctrine. Conference has very wide viewership among church members, and its influence is magnified by the widespread reach of Conference talks in the Ensign. The last General Conference in which Kolob was mentioned — the star where God lives — was in 1969. In 1969, President McKay briefly alluded to the idea of Kolob as an actual belief: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints always have known through revelation of the numberless creations of God. They are taught that somewhere out in that great... Read more »

The Crucible of Doubt – A Review

October 7, 2014 | 6 comments
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Fiona and Terryl Givens’ The Crucible of Doubt is a nearly perfect book. I hope that a million Mormons read it. Crucible manages to do what all great religious writing must: it sacrifices the impulse to prove its religion and, instead, takes up the yoke of living it. Read more »

Five Things I Liked from General Conference

October 6, 2014 | 20 comments
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Note that I did a separate post on the General Women’s Meeting here and posted notes from the Saturday afternoon session here. Some things I liked from conference: Read more »

Isaiah 29:21

October 2, 2014 | 16 comments
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Isaiah 29:21

A friend recently said she needs a “new approach” to studying the Book of Mormon. I’m not sure what her old approach was, Read more »

Progress and Perfection Reconciled

October 1, 2014 | no comments
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Progress and Perfection Reconciled

  Peace like a river. Read more »

Who Likes Deseret Book?

September 30, 2014 | 24 comments
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Who Likes Deseret Book?

If you are a Bloggernacle regular, probably not you. You most likely have little sympathy for their fluffy books and a whole heap of disdain for their other kitschy products. Read more »

Visitor at a missionary reunion

September 30, 2014 | 10 comments
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This week is missionary reunion week in the Salt Lake area and elsewhere. I thought of sharing the following in a mild poetic form. Read more »

Magic and Mechanisms

September 29, 2014 | 81 comments
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2014-09-29 Magic and Mechanisms

In her talk “The Evolutionary Roots of Religious Adaptation” for the Mormon Transhumanist Association, Chelsea Strayer hit on one of the fundamental sources of tension between devout and academic perspectives on faith: the distinction between process and purpose. She gave the example of evolution, emphasizing that when she teaches evolution it is fundamentally a discussion of process rather than purpose. Despite this, however, she recounts that: Every time I teach an evolution class… I have one student walk away and say, “Hey, you just told me that God doesn’t exist. You just proved that.” And I’ll have student... Read more »

Temple and Observatory Group Event in Minnesota

September 23, 2014 | 7 comments
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Capture

The Temple and Observatory Group, which has sponsored other events in Utah, Virginia and New York, is offering a seminar for those in the midst of a faith transition or crisis in the Minnesota area. The event features Terryl and Fiona Givens and Spencer Fluhman. Come listen to the three speak about negotiating LDS history, faith challenges and transitions on Saturday, September 27th from 10:30am – 3:30pm at 6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 (library). Lunch will be provided. Please sign up on the Facebook page as seating is limited. Note: there are no tickets for this... Read more »

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

September 15, 2014 | 80 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 | 27 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 | 78 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 | 50 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 »