General Doctrine

Peace

February 20, 2011 | 20 comments
By
Peace

Sometimes unintentional mistakes lead to interesting lines of thought. A few weeks ago I misheard a speaker in an LDS meeting. The speaker was quoting John 14:27, and either because of the speaker’s mispronunciation or my imperfect hearing, I heard the word “live” instead of the word “leave.” This lead me to think about what it means to live in peace. Read more »

Notable Race-Related Changes to Footnotes and Chapter Headings in the Standard Works

February 2, 2011 | 145 comments
By

Marvin Perkins is a Latter-day Saint music producer who is currently the Public Affairs Co-chair for the Genesis Group and who has worked to nurture understanding between African Americans and Latter-day Saints and attack misconceptions (see our 12 Questions series with Brother Perkins from 2009).  This morning, Brother Perkins circulated the following email to his “Blacks in the Scriptures” listserve (which is re-posted here with his permission): ______________________________ Friends, Many of you have recognized the new LDS.org website.  Some of you have recognized that with the new site also came changes to chapter headings and footnotes in the scriptures. ... Read more »

Apportionment tomorrow likely means more Mormons in U. S. Congress

December 20, 2010 | 13 comments
By
Apportionment tomorrow likely means more Mormons in U. S. Congress

On December 21st the U.S. Census Bureau will release the initial results of the 2010 census and indicate which states will gain members of Congress and which states will lose members of Congress. From the estimates made by third parties, it seems likely that the number of Mormons in Congress will increase as a result. Read more »

Church and Family

December 1, 2010 | 26 comments
By

After a flurry of posts related to the new edition of the CHI (now titled Handbook 1 and Handbook 2), the Bloggernacle has fallen silent. (The Salt Lake Tribune has followed up with a helpful article.) One of the new features of Handbook 2 (“H2”) highlighted in the worldwide training broadcast is the three introductory chapters that provide a foundational and doctrinal context for the guidance given in the balance of the book. I am going to note a few statements given in the four pages of Chapter 1, “Families and the Church in God’s Plan,” with short comments... Read more »

Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?

October 7, 2010 | 145 comments
By

It’s a vexing question, asked frequently and nearly always plaintively. President Boyd K. Packer asked it rhetorically this week, supporting and strongly affirming the church’s stance on sexuality and marriage. He stated: We teach the standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes and counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From The Book of Mormon we learn that wickedness never was happiness. Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they... Read more »

In Praise of Heavenly Mother

October 6, 2010 | 141 comments
By
In Praise of Heavenly Mother

I had a rather formative and utterly unique experience in Elders Quorum a few years ago. I taught the Mother’s Day lesson and at the end, after bearing my testimony, not one soul said “Amen.” Read more »

An Apostle on Muslims

September 21, 2010 | 46 comments
By
An Apostle on Muslims

Yesterday, I read the following comments on Muslims by an LDS Apostle: I am aware it is not without a great deal of prejudice that we as Europeans, and Americans, and Christians in religion and in our education, so called, have looked down upon the history of Muhammad, or even the name; and even now we may think that Islam, compared with Christianity as it exists in the world, is a kind of heathenism, or something dreadful… Read more »

The End of the World

July 2, 2010 | 16 comments
By
The End of the World

I took a stroll through the End of the World last week. Brought the wife and kids and a picnic lunch. It was beautiful, as always. But one of these days (and it won’t be long) it will be gone. Maybe us too. Read more »

How to write a revelation

July 1, 2010 | 31 comments
By
How to write a revelation

I have been working on a paper looking at the Doctrine and Covenants, and my research has me thinking about how the texts of modern revelation were produced.  I think that there are a lot of Mormons who assume that the words of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were dictated word for word to Joseph.  On this model, the Doctrine and Covenants is rather like the Qua’ran, which also consists of a series of revelations given to a prophet over a period of years in response to concrete historial circumstances.  Pious Muslims affirm that the Qua’ran was... Read more »

Reincarnation, Mormon style

June 29, 2010 | 28 comments
By

In a PEW survey a few months back, 24% of American adults indicated that they believed in reincarnation (ie, that people will be reborn into this world again and again). Apparently many Christians don’t have a problem overlapping their Christianity with Eastern beliefs. Read more »

Inoculation Works

June 18, 2010 | 40 comments
By

I finally picked up and read a copy of Simon Southerton’s Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church (Signature, 2004) a couple of weeks ago. Yet I still attended church last week and have not drafted a resignation letter. Inoculation works. There’s nothing particularly new in the book — it summarizes mainstream academic views about the origins of the native inhabitants of the Americas, reviews more recent DNA evidence that confirms the mainstream view, then critiques mainstream LDS beliefs about the Book of Mormon and the peopling of the Americas. It is not a book... Read more »

A Reading of President Packer’s “Presiding in the Home”

May 25, 2010 | 58 comments
By
A Reading of President Packer’s “Presiding in the Home”

During a great discussion of our most recent general conference, one very bright young woman in my class sincerely asked, “President Packer said that ‘the father presides at the table’ – and I just want to know what that means.” Read more »

Saying RINO, DINO, MINO is KINO!

May 17, 2010 | 21 comments
By
Saying RINO, DINO, MINO is KINO!

One comment I saw recently, after Senator Bob Bennett lost the Republican nomination to retain his seat, approved the move by the Utah Republican Party, saying that Bennett is a RINO. Read more »

Claremont Conference: What Is Mormon Studies?

April 7, 2010 | no comments
By
Claremont Conference: What Is Mormon Studies?

The Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association is holding its Spring 2010 Conference on April 23 and 24 on the theme What Is Mormon Studies? Transdisciplinary Inquiries into an Emerging Field. The Conference line-up is as follows: Keynote Address Jan Shipps – Indiana University-Purdue University Critical Approaches to Mormon Studies Loyd Ericson – “Where is the Mormon in Mormon Studies?  Subject, Method, Object” Cheryl L. Bruno – “Mormon History from the Kitchen Window: White is the Field in Essentialist Feminism” Blair Van Dyke – “How Wide the Divide? The Absence of Conversation between Mormon Studies and Mormon Mainstream” Christopher C.... Read more »

Charity Free Riding

December 15, 2009 | 17 comments
By
Charity Free Riding

As we all know, the gospel is overrun with economic doctrine.  On that note, I noticed a quote about free riding from President Monson (which I just saw at Mormon Times): “I am confident it is the intention of each member of the church to serve and to help those in need,” he said. “At baptism we covenanted to ‘bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.’ How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often... Read more »

Hope and Children

November 13, 2009 | 7 comments
By

Faith and charity get plenty of attention, but hope not so much. Pessimism, it seems, has become one of the guiding principles of modernity, reflected in the media, popular culture, and even academia. So I was surprised to find a philospher making the suggestion that children anchor our hope for progress and our conviction that life will be better for the next generation. Read more »

The Doctrine of Revelatory Justiciability

October 12, 2009 | 18 comments
By

A good friend, while studying constitutional law for the bar exam this summer, emailed me some thoughts he scribbled down when he should have been hacking away at a few more MBE questions on judicial review. Instead, however, he hammered out a constitutional analysis on the justiciability of prayers.  You see, in case you weren’t aware, in order to receive an answer to a prayer, one’s prayer must involve a “case or controversy” that is fit for review. So, without further adieu, allow me to present the doctrine of revelatory justiciability (a.k.a., what studying for the bar does to... Read more »

Sunday Morning in a Nutshell

October 4, 2009 | no comments
By

President Monson conducted the Sunday morning session, featuring talks by President Eyring, Elder Perry,  Elder Burton, Sister Dibb, Elder Nelson, and President Monson. Direct quotations (based on our notes) are given in quotes; phrases without quotes are our summary of the remarks given. Read more »

Priesthood Session in a Nutshell

October 4, 2009 | 13 comments
By
Priesthood Session in a Nutshell

President Uchtdorf conducted the Priesthood session, featuring talks by Elder Ballard, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Choi, Elder Uchtdorf, Elder Eyring and President Monson. Direct quotations (based on my notes) are given in quotes; phrases without quotes are my summary of the remarks given. Read more »

Two Kinds of Faith

August 24, 2009 | 13 comments
By

I recently read Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate, Terry Eagleton’s critique of the contributions to that debate by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (who he conflates via the memorable moniker “Ditchkins”). It’s less than I’d hoped for, but Chapter Three, “Faith and Reason,” raises issues and questions about that most basic of First Principles, faith. Read more »

Alienated in Zion

August 17, 2009 | 23 comments
By

“I say unto you, be one; and if you are not one ye are not mine (D&C 38:27).” And then comes the uncomfortable experience of sitting in Sunday School (or in the midst of some other group of Mormons) with the persistent, anxious thought, “I really don’t fit in here…” Read more »

A Mormon Don Quixote

August 17, 2009 | 28 comments
By

Last week I was in Cedar City for my annual visit to the Utah Shakespearean Festival, which has brought a lot of pleasure to my family for the past 24 years, thanks to the nearly 50-year-old impossible dream of a returned missionary, Fred Adams. His success is, today, an interesting counterpoint to other impossible dreams. Read more »

The Evolution of Excommunication

July 30, 2009 | 51 comments
By

I recently went through every version of the Church Handbook of Instructions, looking at what they have to say about the operation of church courts and how it has changed over time. Read more »

January 1 of the year 40

July 20, 2009 | 29 comments
By

Happy Moonlanding Day! When I was a youth, I read a science fiction book in which dates in the future were figured from the day that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, apparently because the date had such significance in the history of man. Read more »