General Doctrine

Optimal Tithing

May 11, 2009 | 28 comments
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Suppose that we had a base 8 system instead of base 10, perhaps because, in this hypothetical world, we had 8 fingers rather than 10. Would we pay 1/8 our increase, or do you think it would still be one tenth? Or, to reverse causality, what are the chances we have ten fingers so that we’d develop a base 10 system that would make it easier to count out our tithing? Read more »

What Does My Lack of Personal Trials Say About Me?

May 7, 2009 | 33 comments
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I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I should talk about in my inaugural post on this blog.  Quite honestly, when I agreed to do a stint as a guest blogger, I thought it would be pretty easy.  But, lately, it seems that all my Mormonism-related thoughts have been trite and meaningless.  For example, I considered drafting a post complaining about one of the teachers Elders Quorum and his refusal to teach out of the manual.  But, honestly, I think that post would have just ended up being a rant about a quorum discussion outlining the evils of... Read more »

Obama’s Mom, Holocaust Survivors and Proxy Temple Work

May 5, 2009 | 55 comments
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The Mormon practice of proxy ordinance work has once again made its way into the news, this time involving someone no less prominent than our U.S. President’s late mother. Read more »

Compassion for the Unworthy

May 1, 2009 | 55 comments
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Can I remind us of something? The rhetoric here and elsewhere on the bloggernacle, the Internet, and evidently in the personal lives of some of us, seems all too often to be based on the idea that there is a worthiness test for compassion. Read more »

Four sources of the Apocalypse

April 27, 2009 | 46 comments
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With the past two months, I have read — for various reasons — four different novels laying out apocalyptic events within the United States. Here are the novels, in the order I read (or re-read) them, and with the reasons why I read them: – Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1977): a comet fragments and strikes the Earth in numerous places, collapsing much of world civilization, including the United States. I’ve read this several times before; I saw it cited on a blog (Samizdata) in a discussion on “the best end-of-the-world novels”  and decided to dig... Read more »

I’ve Seen All Good People

April 20, 2009 | 13 comments
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We know there are good times and bad times, but are there good people and bad people? Common sense says yes, as does virtue ethics, a branch of philosophical ethics that attempts to identify virtues worth having and tell good people how to get them. Alas, the story is not quite so simple. Read more »

Breathing the Breath of God

April 12, 2009 | 4 comments
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Genesis (2:7) says that God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils. Is our life a portion of God’s? Jesus quoted a Psalm (82:6) that said, “Ye are gods,” when confronted about his claims to divinity. Mormons are usually not so bold, but there is certainly an element in our tradition that states that humans are children of God, like godlings, capable of developing into gods. Is this idea arrogant or humbling? It depends. Read more »

Ecumenically Missing?

April 8, 2009 | 24 comments
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I came across a news item (here and here) this morning that gives background on the 25 members of the President’s Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and it made me wonder a little about LDS participation in this kind of group. Shouldn’t there be a Mormon on this council? Read more »

Sunday Afternoon Session Notes

April 5, 2009 | no comments
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Here’s a few thoughts on Sunday Afternoon’s session of conference. We encourage everyone to take notes during each session and post their thoughts in comments here. Read more »

Sunday Morning Session Notes

April 5, 2009 | 10 comments
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Here’s a few thoughts on Sunday Morning’s session of conference. We encourage everyone to take notes during each session and post their thoughts in comments here. Read more »

Priesthood Session Notes

April 4, 2009 | 12 comments
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Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Afternoon’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also. Read more »

Saturday Afternoon Session Notes

April 4, 2009 | one comment
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Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Afternoon’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also. Read more »

Saturday Morning Session

April 4, 2009 | 12 comments
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Since we’re not doing open threads during the sessions of conference, we’re trying to start comment threads at the end of the session, so that once you have heard and thought a little about the entire session and the individual talks. So take your notes during the sessions, and let us know after the session is over. Here’s a few thoughts on Saturday Morning’s session of conference. I’d welcome your thoughts also. Read more »

Garment Rights?

March 5, 2009 | 125 comments
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Do we have a right to wear garments? If we do, how far does that right go? What , kind of right is it? Is it a human right? Or a legal one that might disappear and reappear as we pass national boundaries? Read more »

Faith and Healing

February 20, 2009 | 30 comments
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“And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed. He who hath faith to see shall see. He who hath faith to hear shall hear. The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.” (D&C 42:48-51)   Read more »

The Totality of Mortality

January 8, 2009 | 60 comments
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When I picked up my manual to prepare to teach Gospel Doctrine this Sunday, I figured it would be a lesson about the spirit of Elijah (second week = section 2 = turning hearts, etc). I was surprised and delighted to find that Lesson 2 is instead about the atonement, highlighting powerhouse passages in Doctrine & Covenants sections 19, 76, 88, and 93. While reading the material I was reminded of a favorite quote from Chieko Okazaki on the topic and had a hankering to share it. Read more »

Call for Papers: SMPT at Claremont, 2009

January 7, 2009 | 3 comments
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The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology’s 2009 conference will be held at Claremont Graduate University, May 21-23, in cooperation with the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association. Read more »

A Christmas Story

December 24, 2008 | 13 comments
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If a story about football brought tears to my eyes, you know it’s gotta be good. Read more »

The Slaughter of the Innocents

December 22, 2008 | 26 comments
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After the wise men came, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. Read more »

Should My Prayers Be Whinier?

December 21, 2008 | 11 comments
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The psalms are prayers. And some of them are real doozies. Read more »

Hugs and Kisses

December 15, 2008 | 5 comments
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It’s holiday season, which means more friends and family and greetings, in person or otherwise, than usual. Add to that a few weddings receptions and you can get downright sore from all the hugging and hand-wrenching. Not to mention confused by the vast array of possibilities for saying hello or goodbye or Merry Christmas or Happy New Year to someone. It’s enough to make even the most seasoned anthropologist dizzy. Read more »

Millennial Vegetarianism

November 24, 2008 | 32 comments
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Enjoy that Thanksgiving turkey . . . while you can. You may be a vegetarian during the millennium. Read more »

The Gospel and Immigration

November 17, 2008 | 108 comments
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The Gospel and Immigration

A High Priest I know is in crisis. He is an immigrant who, like many other Church members, came to the US without a visa, according to what I understand of the situation. After arriving here he joined the Church, and eventually fell in love and married a U.S. Citizen, a wonderful, faithful Church member. This situation would normally put him on track for a green card and U.S. citizenship. But this brother is facing deportation, and his ward and stake are praying for a miracle that will keep him here in the United States. Read more »

Confirm or Deny?

October 20, 2008 | 57 comments
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The following is making the email rounds with lightning speed. It claims to be talk given recently by President Packer. Can anyone confirm or deny? Read more »