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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #13

March 24, 2015 | 4 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #13

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For Zion – Part 10

March 24, 2015 | one comment
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For Zion – Part 10

From the pen of George Handley: There are those who are infected by nostalgia and yearn for a nineteenth-century Mormonism because, I suppose, they imagine that the prophets then seemed more willing to condemn capitalism or to preach environmental stewardship and that Mormons were more communitarian, less materialistic, and more obligated under the law of consecration to work to eliminate poverty. Read more »

Initial Short Speculation on Three Book of Mormon Passages and Ancient Cosmology

March 22, 2015 | 30 comments
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Initial Short Speculation on Three Book of Mormon Passages and Ancient Cosmology

Part of writing a book about ancient cosmology and Genesis 1 is… reading lots about ancient cosmology and Genesis 1. In doing so, I’ve had some thoughts about three Book of Mormon passages. I’ve generally set these on the shelf, so these are initial thoughts which upon further investigation may turn out to be highly significant or completely baseless. But I float them here for public interest and as a reminder to myself later. Read more »

The historicity window

March 18, 2015 | 68 comments
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The historicity window

Book of Mormon historicity is not a unitary entity or a binary concept. It has at least three primary components, each of which offers a spectrum of possibilities Read more »

For Zion – Part 9

March 18, 2015 | no comments
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For Zion – Part 9

From the pen of Jim Faulconer: Joseph M. Spencer’s most recent book (unless he has done another in the few weeks since this one was published) is For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope (Kofford Books, 2015; 157 pages, with index). I go back a long way with Joe, back to when he was still a recently-returned Mormon missionary and still an undergraduate at Brigham Young University. Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #12

March 17, 2015 | one comment
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #12

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What Was Satan’s Plan?

March 17, 2015 | 66 comments
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There’s an article in this month’s Ensign that makes two interesting moves. (There are also a few really unpleasant aspects of this article, but that’s a topic for a different post.) Read more »

For Zion — Part 8

March 12, 2015 | one comment
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For Zion — Part 8

Chapter 9, “Zion as Project”, gets right down to business. Having previously and rather brilliantly tied up his various scriptural themes and contexts — Old Testament eschatology, early Christian history, Pauline hope, faith and love, the Book of Mormon’s revision of Pauline hope, early Restoration history — Spencer brings these all to bear on the earliest version of the consecration revelation that eventually became D&C 42. He focuses on what are now verses 29-37. (I link to the modern D&C for convenience, but of course the earliest version was different, and those differences are a major focus of the... Read more »

For Zion — Part 7

March 12, 2015 | no comments
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For Zion — Part 7

Chapter 8, “Zion in Prophecy,” marks an important transition in Joseph Spencer’s For Zion. Opening with a tour de force theological dissection of hope in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, followed by a thoughtful interlude on the Book of Mormon’s conceptual bridge between Paul’s early Christian hope and the Zion of the Restoration, the book turns in chapter 8 to what most of us came expecting: Spencer’s close reading of Joseph’s latter-day revelations on consecration and Zion. The analysis opens with an overview of the historical moment into which the revelation eventually known as D&C 42 arrived. Soon after... Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #11

March 10, 2015 | one comment
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #11

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Grace Is Not God’s Backup Plan

March 6, 2015 | 31 comments
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Grace Is Not God’s Backup Plan

I’ve published a new little book, Grace Is Not God’s Backup Plan: An Urgent Paraphrase of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. It’s an experiment both in reading Paul and in self-publishing. My family and I were reading N. T. Wright’s “Kingdom Translation” of Romans and the kids were having a blast. Paul’s a great read in contemporary English. They loved, especially, Paul’s rhetorical questions (“Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Certainly not!”) and I loved, especially, the force of the letter when read out loud. Read more »

A Mormon Maximalism

March 5, 2015 | 14 comments
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A Mormon Maximalism

I’ve been practicing a kind of Mormon maximalism for a long time now. This impulse toward maximalism is itself religious in spirit. More, the impulse is aesthetic. It’s driven by a kind of wild hunger for the feel (literally, the aesthesis) of words, facts, theories, things, and people. I’m roaming the earth, eating everything in sight. Read more »

The Running Missionary

March 5, 2015 | 42 comments
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The Running Missionary

Deseret News has an article on a sister-missionary video “’My mission in 5 minutes,” in which a well-meaning, returned sister missionary summarizes the highlights of her mission in Berlin, Germany. The missionaries are depicted, with rhythmic music, while running, jumping, dancing, giving high-fives—all part of a missionary-excitement culture, starting with the hysteria when the letter with the call is opened and the destination announced. From the video, a mission is the time to gather fun and stirring memories, with background pictures and videos of castles, cathedrals, romantic landscapes, and food. Even missionaries dressed in Lederhosen are part of it. It’s all understandable.... Read more »

For Zion – Part 6

March 3, 2015 | 10 comments
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For Zion – Part 6

One more time, from the pen of Ben Peters: One of the most tempting yet misplaced complaints lodged against Joseph Spencer’s For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope might be that, for all its talk about Zion, For Zion does nothing to suggest actionable proposals or bullet points for how to build Zion. Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #10

March 3, 2015 | 2 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #10

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Seafloor Spreading, or Why I’m Mormon

March 1, 2015 | 45 comments
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Seafloor Spreading, or Why I’m Mormon

Let’s acknowledge that beginnings are important. This is one reason why we care so much about history. So let’s go back to beginning. Let’s go back to the origin, to the source, to what the Greeks called the arche. But how? Where is the origin? Read more »

For Zion – Part 5

February 27, 2015 | 2 comments
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For Zion – Part 5

From the pen of Ben Peters (see previous post): Chapter five in Joseph Spencer’s For Zion turns to what he calls “the space of hope.” Here his discussion focuses on the space of “what remains to be seen” and to a similar effect as chapter four on the time of hope. Read more »

For Zion – Part 4

February 25, 2015 | 2 comments
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For Zion – Part 4

From the pen of Ben Peters: I’m thrilled and humbled to take part in this roundtable. By way of introduction, I’m Ben Peters, a husband, a father of four, a media historian and information technology theorist (more on my work here), a lifelong member, a long-time T&S reader, and first-time poster. My family has lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma since 2011, following an education trek stretching from Provo and Stanford to New York and Jerusalem. A disciplinary mutt, I have no real business commenting on the work of professional philosophers, especially chapters likely to trip up readers more careful than I... Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #9

February 24, 2015 | one comment
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #9

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Black History Month: Elijah Ables in Cincinnati, 1842-1845

February 22, 2015 | 8 comments
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Black History Month: Elijah Ables in Cincinnati, 1842-1845

  To purchase Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables or For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2013, click here or here. As the first documented priesthood holder of African descent, Elijah Ables already enjoys a singular place in the history of black Mormonism. But in most discussions of Ables’s place in Mormon history, he serves as a foil for understanding the origins and development of the Mormon priesthood restriction on the black community; seldom does he enjoy the full subjectivity and personhood that a person of his accomplishment and stature would demand. Indeed, no phase of... Read more »

On Not Giving a Fig for Historicity Debates

February 21, 2015 | 139 comments
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On Not Giving a Fig for Historicity Debates

There’s a lot of discussion lately about the relationship between scripture and history. In this post, I suggest, by way of a case study, that the trees are obscuring the view of the forest for those gazing at historicity questions. Read more »

Urkirche, Urtext

February 18, 2015 | 32 comments
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Urkirche, Urtext

I don’t believe in the historical Jesus Read more »

For Zion – Part 3

February 17, 2015 | 5 comments
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For Zion  – Part 3

I’m honored to participate in this roundtable on Joe Spencer’s book For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope.  I’ll be tackling chapters 2 and 3 today; Adam treated chapter 1 here. Like many T&S readers, I presume, I come at this book as an amateur: I was trained in literature, not philosophy, and the densely analytical style of philosophy can be challenging — though always rewarding — for me to work through. These chapters are full of interesting ideas and new readings. Rather than react or respond to Joe’s theology here, I’m just going to do my best to summarize the... Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #8

February 17, 2015 | 14 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #8

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