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Reading Nephi – 1:1-6

September 30, 2015 | 5 comments
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Reading Nephi – 1:1-6

‘I, Nephi’ begins his record in a remarkable manner, and I’m tempted to write long-windedly exploring the labyrinth of the first verse. I’m grateful that he acknowledges goodly parents and not just a goodly father. Some have certainly had only goodly fathers and not goodly mothers (Disney loves this scenario), but as written, I see a reflection of my own life in the first line of the Book of Mormon—of all of our lives. We have goodly Parents — Heavenly Parents. And, accordingly as Nephi notes, we have been taught somewhat in all of their learning, and are continuing... Read more »

Reading Nephi – Headnote

September 28, 2015 | 69 comments
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Reading Nephi – Headnote

What would I write now if I were to give an account of some stretch of nine formative years of my life in a paragraph, serving as the key markers of a short bio I’d then write Read more »

Reading Nephi – Series Introduction

September 28, 2015 | 19 comments
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Reading Nephi – Series Introduction

I’ve been reading Nephi all my life. Read more »

The KJV and the Thereofs Thereof

September 26, 2015 | 44 comments
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if

The KJV is archaic and foreign today, but did you know it was already archaic and outdated when it was published in 1611? The translation team was instructed to follow earlier translations like The Bishop’s Bible (1568) and only change where they thought necessary. But the Bishop’s Bible was itself a revision of yet earlier translations, all the way back to Tyndale (1525)! This means the translators were not starting from scratch, but essentially critiquing and updating earlier work. The English used was not the current vernacular language of the people when it was published. The abundance of “barbed wire”... Read more »

The JST, Moses, and the Flood in Seminary: How Much complexity?

September 25, 2015 | 86 comments
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Blinding

I happened to sit in on an early morning Seminary class today, working on Moses 8. I haven’t been in a Seminary class since I graduated high school, which was… a while ago. But I noticed something that went completely uncommented on by the manual, that I could see. Read more »

The Abomination of Desolation (Mark 13:14)

September 18, 2015 | 15 comments
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The question of what the “abomination of desolation” (Mark 13:14) is came up in my recent post, so I thought I’d post a draft version of my work on this topic for the BYUNTC Mark volume. Read more »

Thoughts on a Modern English Translation of the Scriptures

September 17, 2015 | 47 comments
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The Church recently announced that is going to be publishing an LDS “translation” of the Bible in Portuguese. I put “translation” in scare quotes because this is not a new Portuguese version of the Bible translated from the original Greek and Hebrew. Rather, it takes a previous Portuguese translation now in the public domain and updates its archaic language for modern Portuguese readers, adding LDS study aids. This is not the first time that the Church has issued new versions of the scriptures to make their language more digestible for members. For example, the original translation of the Book... Read more »

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

September 16, 2015 | 26 comments
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It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

  Julie Rowe’s prophecies of an imminent end of the world have been getting a bit of attention lately. So this might be a good time to review Jesus’ teachings on the matter.   Read more »

Quotes of Note- Elders Ballard and Packer on Meetings

September 12, 2015 | 10 comments
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(I was trying to find President Packer’s statement about meetings for second post on 1 Corinthians, and realized it had disappeared from LDS.org. I’ve relocated it on the Wayback Machine, and the link below is correct. The source is no longer a “recent address” so it had disappeared from lds.org) Elder Ballard- “Are you using the ward and stake councils effectively as they were intended? Don’t let them become meaningless exercises in organizational bureaucracy. The way some leaders conduct council meetings, you would think they really believe in a fourteenth article of faith: ‘We believe in meetings—all that have been... Read more »

Do Mormons Have a Duty to Vote?

September 7, 2015 | 19 comments
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We'll get back to Trump towards the end.

You might think that this is a strange question, and that of course everyone has a duty to vote. That’s part of being a good citizen, isn’t it? Well, there’s a growing body of opinion that says this isn’t so. It all starts widespread agreement that voting doesn’t make a lot of sense from the perspective of an individual voter. Your chance of swaying a national election—of being the decisive vote—is for all practical purposes zero. So there’s no benefit to voting. But there are costs. There’s the gas you pay for the drive to the polling place and... Read more »

Covenant and Speech

August 31, 2015 | 84 comments
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Membership in the Church is a covenant relationship. We repeat this to ourselves a great deal but generally aren’t clear exactly what we mean by it. Often, we imagine a covenant as a contract, a set of reciprocal promises. Given what the scriptures say about covenants, this isn’t a false way of thinking about it, but it is seriously incomplete. The most powerful image of covenant in the scriptures for me is the image of marriage. Israel, we are told, is like the (often faithless) spouse of God. A marriage is a relationship that is defined by reciprocal promises,... Read more »

Reminder: SMPT deadline Tuesday Sept. 1

August 31, 2015 | no comments
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Paper proposals for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology’s 2015 Annual Meeting are due soon—Tuesday, September 1. There have been a number of strong submissions already, and we are looking forward to more. For full details on the conference and the call for papers, see the original announcement. Read more »

Church Sticks With BSA

August 26, 2015 | 25 comments
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Church Sticks With BSA

At least for the moment, as announced in this statement posted at the Mormon Newsroom: “Church to Go Forward with Scouting Program.” So despite the sharply worded LDS statement released a month ago at the Newsroom expressing frustration with BSA for the timing and content of the decision to allow gay scout leaders to serve and despite Internet rumors that an LDS-BSA divorce was imminent, this troubled marriage will continue, at least for now. How long will this last given declining support for BSA among the LDS rank and file? And what does this mean for LDS youth and... Read more »

The Most Important Question about the Future of Mormonism

August 24, 2015 | 48 comments
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A couple of weeks ago, Patheos had a fun series of blog posts on the future of the Mormonism. (I’m too lazy to provide a link; Google it.) Most of the contributions were insightful and interesting, but I was struck that none of them put front and center what I think is the more important question facing the Church today. Mormonism is driven, ultimately, by missionary work. If you look at the development of our theology, for example, it has largely been formulated in the context of polemics driven by the needs of proselytizing. We articulate our theology through... Read more »

“Another Important Step Forward in the Restoration of the Gospel”

August 19, 2015 | 49 comments
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“Another Important Step Forward in the Restoration of the Gospel”

Yesterday, President Oscarson announced on her Facebook page that she was now assigned to be a member of the Missionary Executive Council. President Burton is now a member of the Priesthood Executive Council (which has been renamed the Priesthood and Family Executive Council) and President Wixom is now on the Temple and Family History Executive Council. In an article in the Deseret News, former General RS Presidency member Sheri Dew said that “This is yet another important step forward in the restoration of the gospel.” Read more »

Explain Maine

August 18, 2015 | 32 comments
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Explain Maine

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Planting the Seed: Theological Works by LDS Women

August 16, 2015 | 24 comments
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Planting the Seed: Theological Works by LDS Women

So a friend of mine is going to shepherd a much-needed project: an index of theological, exegetical, historical, and doctrinal writings by LDS women. Read more »

Teaching Old Testament for Seminary

August 13, 2015 | 24 comments
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Teaching Old Testament for Seminary

You recently got called as a Early Morning Seminary teacher, and feel surprisingly sanguine about it. Then you found out that you’re starting with Old Testament this September, and all of a sudden, your confidence in the face of world-weary, eye-rolling teenagers plummeted. Why is this so tough? The audience is hostile and sleepy. You teach every day, without the luxury of a whole week to think through your 45 minute lesson. You’ve got to get in there every morning to teach about the longest book we know the least, with the hardest material that is also the most foreign, culturally speaking. Not... Read more »

YW Lesson: How Do I Prepare Now to Become a Righteous Wife and Mother?

August 6, 2015 | 22 comments
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YW Lesson: How Do I Prepare Now to Become a Righteous Wife and Mother?

The first line of this lesson reads, “To prepare to be a righteous wife and mother, young women should focus on the Savior and on developing Christlike attributes,” so that’s what I decided to focus the lesson on. Read more »

Seerstones and the Sacred

August 5, 2015 | 65 comments
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Seerstones and the Sacred

I’ll be honest. Seerstones spark a fire in my bones, a connection to an earlier, earthier, more tangible, and sacral-infused Mormonism. And that’s a Mormonism I need in my life right now. Read more »

Another View of the Seer Stone

August 5, 2015 | 21 comments
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Another View of the Seer Stone

Yesterday by invitation, I attended  the first known joint press conference between the LDS Church and its cousin, the Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or RLDS.) The occasion was the release of the 2-part 3rd volume in the Revelations and Translations series of the Joseph Smith Papers, the Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of the Mormon. As with the others, these books are hefty, high-quality, and thought-provoking. While available at Amazon (part 1, part 2), they will also be available in their entirety online soon.  Read more »

Society for Mormon Philosophy & Theology 2015 Call for Papers

July 30, 2015 | no comments
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The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology will be meeting at Brigham Young University, October 8-10, 2015. This year’s conference theme is “Doers of the Word: Belief and Practice.” From the Call for Papers: The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology invites paper proposals on any aspect of Mormon belief, including its philosophical ramifications. We particularly encourage submissions on this year’s theme. Religious faith is not merely a matter of belief but of action. Indeed, several passages in scripture suggest that true belief cannot be separated from action. In John 7:17, for instance, Jesus indicates that the practice of... Read more »

My Theory of the Church’s Statement on the Change in BSA Policy

July 29, 2015 | 122 comments
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Yesterday my Facebook feed erupted with posts by LDS friends expressing dismay over the Church’s announcement that it would reconsider its relationship with the BSA in light of the BSA’s announcement that it would now allow gay scoutmasters. After all, the BSA policy allows local troops to set their own guidelines regarding gay scoutmasters, and in any case the Church has no objection to gay scoutmasters, so long as they are living the law of chastity. Why the sharp response from the Church? I have a theory about, this, but it is only a theory. In 2000, the U.S.... Read more »

Mormons and Scouting: A Messy Divorce?

July 29, 2015 | 46 comments
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Mormons are talking about Scouting this week as the first significant aftershock of Obergefell v. Hodges rips through the LDS Church. It started with the July 27 announcement by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that its “National Executive Board ratified a resolution that removes the national restriction on openly gay adult leaders and employees.” The BSA statement announcing the decision included this paragraph explaining that local units can still set their own guidelines for selecting adult leaders: Chartered organizations will continue to select their adult leaders and religious chartered organizations may continue to use religious beliefs as criteria... Read more »