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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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When Symbolism isn’t Symbolic

February 16, 2015 | 11 comments
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969 - Batman Featured Image

A few weeks ago I listened to an episode of This American Life with an unfortunate title: Batman. The title, which really doesn’t set the right tone for the episode to follow, refers to Daniel Kish, a blind man who taught himself to echolocate as a child. He gets around the world relatively unaided (including, for example, riding a bike) by clicking and then listening to the echoes. This ability has made him world famous, but it really shouldn’t be so unusual. And perhaps the most chilling thing is the fact that most blind kids will intuitively start clicking or snapping or stamping... Read more »

Religion of a Different Color

February 16, 2015 | one comment
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Religion of a Different Color

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The Branch of Love: A Black History Month Tribute to Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2015 | 7 comments
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The Branch of Love: A Black History Month Tribute to Valentine’s Day

To purchase For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2013, click here. This piece tells the story of a long-forgotten black Latter-day Saint, William P. Daniels, who enjoys a singular position in LDS history: the only known black branch president to function in his office without holding the priesthood. William P. Daniels loved to cook and looked dashing in a three-piece suit. A tailor by trade, Daniels had a charisma about him. Missionaries adored him, church leaders trusted him, and his name rang throughout the Church. No one enjoyed reading the Book of Mormon more than... Read more »

Is excommunication a medieval solution to a modern problem?

February 13, 2015 | 53 comments
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Is excommunication a medieval solution to a modern problem?

I believe it was Joanna Brooks who first formulated the idea that “excommunication is a 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem.” It bears the marks of her elegant, intelligent phrase-making. Since it was first uttered, this idea has fed a swelling criticism of the practice of excommunication, following from the high-profile disciplinary action against Kate Kelly and now John Dehlin. This particular criticism is separate from — though often prompted by — the specifics of the Dehlin and Kelly cases: it’s a denunciation of the practice in general, either for apostasy or for any transgression. To expel a dissident... Read more »

For Zion – Part 2

February 13, 2015 | 12 comments
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For Zion – Part 2

The first chapter of For Zion lays the groundwork for Spencer’s reading of Paul’s theology of hope. It focuses especially on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Understanding the details of this “theology of hope” is crucial to understanding Spencer’s full account of what’s at stake in the law of consecration. Read more »

For Zion – Part 1

February 12, 2015 | 15 comments
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For Zion – Part 1

Whatever happened to Zion?  Whatever happened to the law of consecration? Aren’t these things from a long time ago? Or for some time way in the future? No. They are only ever for now. Saying that we’re not ready for Zion is like telling a guy lost in the desert he’s not ready for water. Read more »

Who gets to be a Mormon?

February 11, 2015 | 103 comments
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I have a few questions about boundaries and numbers that I would like to put before the group for your collective insight. While the questions are related, they are not building any particular argument. 1. If the Church excommunicated everyone who quietly disbelieves any or all of the core doctrines that John Dehlin has rejected, how many people would we lose? 2. If the Church dropped from its rolls all those people who have slipped or stomped out of activity, those who opt out of meetings and callings and the home and visiting teaching programs, how big would be... Read more »

Congo! Heart of . . .

February 11, 2015 | 11 comments
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Congo! Heart of . . .

Note: this post was written by Margaret Blair Young. Read more »

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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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 »