(The Law of) Agency

December 1, 2003 | 6 comments
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In my course on Business Organizations, I teach the law of principals and agents. Under this body of law, the notion of “free agency” is nonsensical, since a person becomes an “agent” only by attaching himself to a principal, at which point the person is no longer free. By contrast, in religious studies, the term “free agency” (or just “agency”) connotes free will, which is a complex and deeply interesting topic, though not the topic of this post. In this post, I want to use the law of agency to propose a different way of thinking about ourselves as... Read more »

A Mormon Studies Family

December 1, 2003 | 59 comments
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Both of my parents (now divorced) have been deeply involved in Mormon studies for my entire life. Thus, I grew up in a Mormon studies family. My father is a senior curator at the Museum of Church History and Art and was hired by the Church Historical Department a few months before I was born. My mother was one of the early editors of Sunstone Magazine and worked as an editor and then board member of Signature Books while I was growing up. The result is that I think of most of the big names in Mormon studies –... Read more »

Russell joins as a permanent blogger

November 30, 2003 | one comment
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We are happy to welcome Russell aboard as a permanent member of the blog. Now we are only 89 away from a quorum-sized group. Read more »

This and that – Administrative

November 30, 2003 | one comment
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This and that – Administrative

A few quick administrative notes: 1. I will be out of town most of this week, and will be blogging lightly or not at all. Please don’t take my silence as a sign that I agree with anything Nate, Matt or Gordon say. 2. The site seems to be striking a chord with people, as we are now averaging 65 visitors per day. To our visitors: Please feel free to e-mail us, to comment on posts (and for those wondering about comments from week 1, yes, we will get them copied over at some point — technology has not... Read more »

An Image for Kaimi

November 30, 2003 | 5 comments
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An Image for Kaimi

Here is what I have always thought was the best visual depication of Kaimi’s theory of Book of Mormon geography. The painting is by the wonderful Minerva Teichert. Read more »

Nephites and Lamanites Redux

November 30, 2003 | one comment
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Other things have been keeping me busy, but Nate reminds me that I have yet to follow up on my comments about Native Americans and Lehite descent. Nate suggests that: Yes it is true that lots and lots of Mormons think that the Book of Mormon provides the only account for Native American ancestry. Yes it is true that there are probably a whole lot of general authorities that subscribe to this view. So what? I find this assertion absolutely baffling. “A bunch of general authorities — the people we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators; the people who... Read more »

Mormon Images

November 30, 2003 | 3 comments
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There is a strange schizophrenia about popular images of Mormons. On one hand, we get stereotyped as shinny, well-scrubbed, conservative, paragons of middle American virtues circa 1955. On the other hand, we get stereotyped as dangerous, homicidal, polygamist fanatics. As Gordon points out in his post the latter stereotype popped up recently in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but that is hardly the only place one sees it. Remember that the religious bomber in the movie Contact was from Prowan, Utah. At the same time, Mormons pop up in Tom Clancy novels as shining examples of American decency. As... Read more »

Passion

November 30, 2003 | 8 comments
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Have you seen the trailor for Mel Gibson’s film about the last 12 hours of Christ’s life? This has been the subject of much debate, as Jewish leaders raise concerns about anti-Semitism and others respond. Here are some responses from people who have actually seen a rough cut at the behest of the New York Post, which apparently bootlegged a copy (the uniform reaction — except from the “Post reader” — was that the film unfairly portrayed Jews). Amitai Etzioni, who has been blogging regularly on this topic, had an interesting take on this flap way back in September:... Read more »

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

November 30, 2003 | one comment
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I just saw what was perhaps the most offensive portrayal of the Church that I have ever seen on network television. In an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent that originally ran on November 16, a young man (almost 18) is cast as a Manson-like figure. He assembles of group of three young women disaffected by the depraved behavior of their high school peers. The young man preaches a different gospel, one informed by Siddhartha (Hesse’s novel). When the young girls kill three male classmates and then some parents at his command, Detective Goren is on the case.... Read more »

Is there an LDS Thanksgiving identity?

November 29, 2003 | 12 comments
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As Gordon points out, we all seem to be enjoying our post-Thanksgiving naps just a little too much. Before moving too far on from the Thanksgiving theme, I think it is appropriate to reflect on what Thanksgiving means in particular, to Latter-Day Saints. However, the discussion of what Thanksgiving means to Latter Day Saints raises a threshold question: Is there a distinct LDS attitude, approach, or spirit towards Thanksgiving — an LDS Thanksgiving identity — or are we as church members merely hangers-on to the broad Protestant Thanksgiving tradition? Read more »

Around the Newsroom

November 28, 2003 | 3 comments
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Do things look a little different around here?

November 27, 2003 | 2 comments
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Yep, we have moved to Movable Type. We are currently working on updating comments and links. Things may be a bit bumpy for a few days, but we expect any problems to be ironed out quickly. In the meantime, the old site is still available at www.timesandseasons.org/mt/ . And a big thanks to Matt Evans for setting us up on this software (now if only we can figure out how to use it . . . ) Read more »

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

November 27, 2003 | no comments
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He Forgets Not His Own

November 26, 2003 | no comments
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Nephites, Lamanites, and Native Americans

November 26, 2003 | 13 comments
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Nephites, Lamanites, and Native Americans

I admit it — I started this whole mess, in part because I was quite surprised by some of the Historian’s comments. (This post will include some text which is in the comments section of Nate’s earlier post, for purposes of putting my discussion in one place). Read more »

Reading the Book of Mormon

November 25, 2003 | no comments
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The “Curse”

November 25, 2003 | no comments
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Mormons and the Bible

November 25, 2003 | no comments
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A Mormon Image: Our Army

November 25, 2003 | one comment
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A Mormon Image: Our Army

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Utah, Mormons and Bankruptcy

November 25, 2003 | 5 comments
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Utah has the dubious honor of leading the nation in personal bankruptcy rates. According to the Salt Lake Tribune 1 in 37 households in Utah is insolvent. I suspect that this high level of bankruptcy filings may be what has been behind some recent words on debt in general conference. In 1998, President Hinckley counseled: I urge you, brethren, to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves... Read more »

Intro Pages

November 25, 2003 | no comments
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A Whole Lot More on Natural Law

November 25, 2003 | 3 comments
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In a mad attempt to throw together Kaimi’s post on the “Christian Right” and Nate’s post on natural law, while also tossing in a bit about Catholic and Protestant theology… A few years ago I dug a little into a group called the World Congress of Families. It, like United Families International, has its roots in a loose network of politically conservative churches that saw the United Nations as beholden to an anti-traditionalist agenda. This is hardly a new complaint; it dates back to the 1960s and 70s, where you can find old John Birch Society stuff warning against... Read more »

Noel Reynolds, Natural Law, and the Personalized Good

November 25, 2003 | 3 comments
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One of my favorite former professors, Noel Reynolds, dropped by and left some very interesting comments on natural law. He begins by faulting the Thomistic natural law tradition for beginning its analysis with Aristotelianism rather than the scriptures, noting that in the scriptures it is either God’s command or our covenant with him that provides moral direction, not nature. Noel goes on to ask: And yet, the plan of salvation does presume the necessity of some disposition within us to seek after good or evil. And our salvation depends on the choice we will make. Or is that already... Read more »

Should Mormons consider the “Christian Right” as friends?

November 24, 2003 | 10 comments
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It seems to me that church members are becoming enamored of the political groups which are often identified “Christian Right” — politically powerful, vocally conservative groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, and Focus on the Family. I receive many e-mail messages from family members, forwarding petitions or other communiques from such groups. Matt Evans, of our blog and other blogs’ fame, has written about positive experiences he has had in communicating with one such group. I can certainly see why Mormons are drawn to these groups. Such organizations are well-organized and able to wield political power.... Read more »

Mormonism and Natural Law

November 24, 2003 | no comments
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My (Mormon) Hang-up with (Opposition to) Gay Marriage

November 24, 2003 | one comment
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Hello all. My thanks for Nate for inviting me (if only for a while) to participate in this blog, and thanks for the introduction Kaimi. Speaking of such, I notice that Times and Seasons started off without any general explanations or identifying comments. Is that a policy, or just because it was assumed that most everyone who might read this blog would know who all the participants are? Either way, I feel foolish jumping into a conversation without doing a little of the usual sacrament-meeting-”let me tell you a little bit about myself”-routine. So anyway…my name’s Russell Arben Fox;... Read more »

Utah 3-BYU 0

November 24, 2003 | no comments
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Guest Blogger

November 24, 2003 | no comments
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Hierarchy of Sins?

November 24, 2003 | no comments
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Prohibition is Dead and the Mormons Killed It!

November 24, 2003 | no comments
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