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A Sad Day

February 10, 2015 | 59 comments
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Thoughts today are with John and his family. Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #7

February 10, 2015 | 3 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #7

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No Apology

February 4, 2015 | 70 comments
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No Apology

"I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." Hosea 5:15 Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #6

February 3, 2015 | 14 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #6

So here’s the plan: each week that the gospels are covered in Sunday School, I will post one question from my book along with a brief discussion of the issues that it raises.   Read more »

On Reading Scripture and Being Human

February 2, 2015 | 39 comments
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Darwin's Monkey - Square

About three weeks ago, David Bokovoy wrote an interesting blog post on historicity in the scripture in which he argued that questions of historicity are unhelpful anachronisms that tend to miss the point of scripture: It’s important for modern readers of the Bible to recognize that biblical historians were not motivated to write their accounts out of antiquarian interest. The past was far too important a tool for these authors to simply recount what really happened. Instead, biblical authors used history as a tool to convey themes concerning the God of Israel and his relationship to his chosen people.... Read more »

T&S Welcomes Guest Blogger Russell Stevenson

February 2, 2015 | 10 comments
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T&S Welcomes Guest Blogger Russell Stevenson

We are pleased to welcome Russell Stevenson as a guest blogger. Russell has a master’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky, and after a stint teaching at Salt Lake Community College he is now in the Ph.D. program in African history at Michigan State University studying Mormonism in Nigeria. He blogs at Mormon History Guy and at Rational Faiths. February is Black History Month, the right time for Russell to share some of the material from his two books, Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables and the just-published For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History... Read more »

Guest Post: The World Is Improving

January 31, 2015 | 45 comments
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Guest Post: The World Is Improving

 Today we feature a guest post from Brandon Russell. Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #5

January 27, 2015 | 16 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #5

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Messianicity & Historicity

January 26, 2015 | 101 comments
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The Book of Mormon is a messianic text. As messianic, it means to interrupt and overwrite our normal experience of time. When this overwriting occurs at the level of the individual, it’s called repentance. When this overwriting occurs collectively, it’s called gathering. Both kinds of overwriting implicate the other. Read more »

Genesis- Various thoughts and notes on a Saturday night.

January 24, 2015 | 15 comments
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Genesis- Various thoughts and notes on a Saturday night.

The new Seminary manual on the Old Testament approaches the authorship of Genesis in a reductive and simplistic way. (HT: David Tayman, who also did the Israelite cosmology art below.) Ask students if they know who wrote the first book in the Bible. After they respond, invite them to turn to Genesis 1 and look in the title to see who wrote the book of Genesis. (You may want to explain that in addition to writing Genesis, Moses wrote Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price also contains Moses’s writings.) Now, this... Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #4

January 20, 2015 | 18 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #4

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Announcing the 2nd Annual Wheatley “Faith Seeking Understanding” Summer Seminar

January 19, 2015 | one comment
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2015 01 19 Wheatley Institution Header

The 2nd Annual Wheatley “Faith Seeking Understanding” Summer Seminar will be held from June 22 – July 10, 2015 under the direction of Professor Terryl Givens. Here’s the seminar description: What are the general contours of Christianity’s efforts to find a marriage of belief and intellect? Does Mormonism face the same challenges as the broader Christian tradition? What are the contributions of Mormon theology to current debates in the political and cultural realms? How reasonable are LDS positions on the family, marriage, pro-life and end of life issues? Is the Mormon theological tradition an asset or a handicap in... Read more »

The Influence of Law on Mormon Theology in the 20th Century

January 18, 2015 | 10 comments
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I recently published an article that T&S readers might find interesting. It traces the legal issues faced by the Church as a result of its international expansion after 1945, arguing that the pressures created by these concerns tended to modify Mormon theologies of the state in the last half of the twentieth century. There is a bunch of interesting stuff in the paper (or at least I think that there is), but it mainly makes two contributions. First, it tries to provide an overarching narrative for Mormon legal history in the late twentieth century. Second, it shows that just... Read more »

Most Mormons

January 16, 2015 | 33 comments
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Most Mormons

I distrust Most Mormons. Whenever I see Most Mormons, I’m inclined to disagree with whatever is being said. If it were possible, I’d like to do away with Most Mormons entirely Read more »

Times and Seasons’ 2014 Mormon of the Year: The Authors of the LDS Gospel Topics Essays

January 15, 2015 | 74 comments
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Times & Seasons is proud to announce the 2014 Mormon of the Year:  Authors of the Gospel Topics Essays. The Mormon of the Year is our annual designation of the Mormons who had the greatest impact or influence on Mormons and Mormonism during the year. Beginning in 2013 the LDS Church has published a series of essays on LDS.org, under the heading of Gospel Topics, addressing controversial topics involving the church and its history. These special essays, currently covering 9 topics, represent a new approach both to public outreach and to informing the church membership on these subjects. While the... Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #3

January 13, 2015 | 29 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #3

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A Brother in Zion: One man’s unlikely journey into Mormonism

January 12, 2015 | 13 comments
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A Brother in Zion: One man’s unlikely journey into Mormonism

It was the jumpsuit that brought it all into focus, a jumpsuit much like one he had worn years before. But this jumpsuit was white. That one had been orange. Dressed in the white polyester garment, David was prepared for baptism into a new church. A fleeting glimpse of himself dressed in white seemed to capture the great changes in his life and outlook over the past months. White was his new orange. God’s voice began speaking in his heart. “You’ve been getting away with some things you’re not supposed to be doing, and it’s only by the grace... Read more »

We are all Charlie

January 9, 2015 | 48 comments
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We are all Charlie

The horrendous attack on Charlie Hebdo last Wednesday has shocked the world. This is beyond humanity, and all reactions, also from the Muslim communities, is one of deep anger and clear condemnation. Everywhere this murderous spree is seen as an attack on a core value in modern free society, the freedom of the press. Whoever attacks the free press, attacks democracy and free society, so whoever attacks a free press in fact attacks us, all of us, none excluded. Throughout Europe, people flocked to the large squares, expressing their revulsion for this brutal massacre, voicing their conviction that this... Read more »

Incredulous About Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

January 8, 2015 | 306 comments
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Incredulous About Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

Entrenched in Mormon Culture I am a 7th generation Mormon who grew up in Utah County. I attended church all my life, had regular family scripture study and FHE. My dad was a BYU math professor and my mom a devout scripture scholar. I graduated from seminary and graduated from BYU (with all its required religion courses) and married a 5th generation, returned missionary in the temple. And I didn’t learn that Joseph Smith personally practiced polygamy until I was in my 20s. I had heard the story about Emma pushing Eliza down the stairs, causing a miscarriage in... Read more »

Welcome to Guest Blogger Dave Evans

January 8, 2015 | 2 comments
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Times and Seasons is pleased to welcome David K. Evans as our latest guest blogger. Dave is a Senior Economist in the Chief Economist’s Office for the Africa Region of the World Bank and holds a Ph.D in economics from Harvard University.  In the wake of last year’s Ebola outbreak, Dave has also become talk radio and cable news’s go to source on the economic effects of the epidemic in West Africa, with appearances on BBC, Bloomberg, CNN International, and Diane Rehm, among other outlets. Dave is engaging, thoughtful and one of the most well-read individuals I’ve ever met. He and his... Read more »

2014 Mormon Book of the Year

January 7, 2015 | 7 comments
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2014 Mormon Book of the Year

With all the power vested in me (by myself), I hereby declare Joseph Spencer’s book, For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope, the 2014 Mormon Book of the Year. Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #2

January 6, 2015 | 10 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #2

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Reconciling Shame and Guilt

January 5, 2015 | 19 comments
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Last year was my first year teaching the Old Testament in Gospel Doctrine, and I benefited a ton from Ben Spackman’s Patheos blog. So I’m starting off this year by reading some of his recommended books for teaching the New Testament (list continues here and here). First up? Misreading the Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible. The point of Misreading the Scripture is that the Biblical authors left certain cultural assumptions unspoken because they took them for granted. When we read the Bible today, we fill in those gaps with our own cultural... Read more »

What Role Should the JST Play in LDS Biblical Studies?

January 5, 2015 | 38 comments
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What Role Should the JST Play in LDS Biblical Studies?

Two people have asked me this question in the last week; here’s a stab at an answer. Read more »