News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

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 »

Vote for Mormon of the Year 2014

January 1, 2015 | 58 comments
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This post opens the voting for Mormon of the Year. Votes will be taken until midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday, January 7th, at which time the voting will close. The voting mechanism will attempt to restrict votes to one per person. The order of the choices is set at random, and is different each time the form is presented. THE WINNER OF THE ONLINE VOTE IS NOT NECESSARILY THE MORMON OF THE YEAR!!! Read more »

Did Jesus Cleanse the Temple?

December 31, 2014 | 40 comments
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Did Jesus Cleanse the Temple?

The standard Mormon reading of Mark 11:15-19 goes something like this: the temple was corrupt and so Jesus cleansed it by kicking out the wicked money changers so that the temple, now purified of evil, could get back to business. But this may not be the best reading. Read more »

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #1

December 30, 2014 | 21 comments
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New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #1

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Who killed Goliath? CSI in Jerusalem

December 27, 2014 | 19 comments
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David with Goliath's head, by Caravaggio

Who really killed Goliath? Of course, this is the most stupid question possible. After all, this is one of the most advertised killings in the history of the world, its record read by millions of admiring people, glorifying in the victory of the brave and smart reddish boy over the Big Ugly Brute. Add the pious invocation of Jahweh throughout the battle, and one has the making of an inspiring heroic story, and that is precisely how it functions in the Old Testament. All the kids in Primary know exactly who killed Goliath, and can explain in detail how... Read more »

Wickedly Awesome Traditions of My Fathers and Mothers

December 22, 2014 | 6 comments
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Wickedly Awesome Traditions of My Fathers and Mothers

Holidays make me think of traditions, especially the food and family traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas. But that makes me think about other traditions, such as the scriptural “wicked traditions of our fathers,” which then makes me think of the wickedly awesome traditions of my fathers and mothers. (And clearly that is the problem with me thinking.) Read more »

Pray for the Cougars

December 19, 2014 | 18 comments
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Pray for the Cougars

Pray for the Cougars. Or the Tigers. Take your pick. Either one is fine as far as I’m concerned. Or if you’re not into college football, pray for something else. Read more »

From Benjamin Park: A Statement Regarding a Recent Review Essay

December 15, 2014 | one comment
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Maxwell Institute Logo

Today we’re pleased to share a guest post from Benjamin Park. The post refers to his review essay “The Book of Mormon and Early America’s Political and  Intellectual Traditions,” which is available to read at the Maxwell Institute site here, or as a Google document here. We have also published a follow-up comment from David Holland, whose book is one of the subjects of Park’s essay.  We have closed the post to additional comments. We will now turn the time over to Brother Park. [This is a response to the number of posts and comments dealing with a review essay of mine, “The Book... Read more »

Taking Control of Your Gospel Doctrine Class… Because You’re the Teacher

December 13, 2014 | 68 comments
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Taking Control of Your Gospel Doctrine Class… Because You’re the Teacher

I’ve wondered how much blame for  “uninformative” (Pres. Kimball’s description) or “uninspiring” (Elder Holland’s paraphrase) teaching in Gospel Doctrine comes from collective failure. Yes, a good teacher can do wonders, but if many classes don’t really talk about the scriptures in question, it’s because virtually no one but the teacher has read them. Read more »

For I am not ashamed…

December 12, 2014 | 41 comments
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Draw the Line

This past Monday one of the radio talk shows I listen to asked about what happened in Church during the weekend. In the wake of the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island, the host, Brian Lehrer, asked how the religious sermons given in the region had confronted these decisions. Of course, in LDS congregations this past Sunday was Fast Sunday, leaving the subject of the testimonies given up to those who chose to speak. In my own case, I heard no hint of a mention of these subjects, or any controversial current events, in the testimonies given... Read more »

What the Smith Boys Said This Year

December 11, 2014 | 18 comments
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Guest Book Review: The Early Prophets by Everett Fox

December 10, 2014 | 5 comments
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Guest Book Review: The Early Prophets by Everett Fox

This guest book review was written by frequent commenter Terry H.     Read more »

Nominate the 2014 Mormon of the Year

December 8, 2014 | 111 comments
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It is time, once again, to select the Mormon of the Year! Read more »