General Doctrine

How to write a revelation

July 1, 2010 | 31 comments
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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“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
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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
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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
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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 »

The Question of Pacifism

July 17, 2009 | 55 comments
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I’m not, by nature, a pacifist. Read more »

Speculation

July 12, 2009 | 29 comments
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Questions without solid answers, from teaching Elders’ Quorum today: 1. Did Jesus get His endowments during life? If so, how and where? If not, why not (and what does that say)? Read more »

AWOL: The Threefold Mission of the Church

July 10, 2009 | 38 comments
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I was cleaning up my blogroll yesterday and came across this post at Intelligent Life that prominently displays the threefold mission of the Church: preach the gospel, redeem the dead, perfect the Saints. It occurs to me I rarely hear this once-prevalent formulation in current LDS discourse. Where did it go? Read more »

Grassroots-Style Dispensations

July 7, 2009 | 18 comments
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Are Mormons exclusivists or universalists? Read more »

12 Questions for Marvin Perkins, Part Four

May 27, 2009 | 20 comments
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Here is the last installment of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our last two questions. We’d like to thank Brother Perkins for the time and effort he’s put in to giving us a set of very substantive and thought-provoking responses. Read more »

12 Questions for Marvin Perkins, Part Three

May 24, 2009 | 3 comments
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Here is Part Three of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our next five questions. See Parts One, Two, and Four for our introduction of Brother Perkins and his responses to our other questions. Read more »

12 Questions for Marvin Perkins, Part Two

May 21, 2009 | 10 comments
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Here is Part Two of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our next four questions. See Parts One, Three and Four for our introduction of Brother Perkins and his responses to our other questions. Read more »

12 Questions for Marvin Perkins, Part One

May 20, 2009 | 32 comments
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Marvin Perkins has graciously agreed to answer a few questions from Times & Seasons. Brother 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. As part of this effort, he has appeared on CNN, among other places. In late 2007, Brother Perkins and former Genesis Group President Darius Gray put out a DVD entitled “Blacks in the Scriptures” that contains four lecture-style scriptural presentations on Blacks and the Bible, Skin Color, Curses, Equality, Priesthood... Read more »