The Mormon Jesus

March 11, 2004 | 17 comments
By

I tried to ask this question earlier, in the context of The Passion, but it pretty quickly got lost in another round of beating the moribund R-rated movies horse. So I’ll ask again, without the attempt at pop-culture referentiality. How has Mormon Christology changed in the last half-century or so? And why? Read more »

Reality TV, Morals and Marriage

March 11, 2004 | 7 comments
By

I just read an article in the March 2004 issue of Harper’s Magazine by Francine Prose titled, “Voting Deomcracy Off The Island: Reality TV and the Republican Ethos.” It’s a rather long, impassioned exploration of the messages and influence of reality tv programs that I found quite disturbing, especially given the popularity, growth, and perceived innocuousness of such programs. She notes incentives for deceit and dishonesty; institutionalized deceit on the part of producers; cruelty and humor at the expense of others; “morality as an albatross or obstacle” to success; that “every human being can and will do anything for... Read more »

STQ: Temples & World Peace

March 11, 2004 | 7 comments
By

My Seminary class has just started studying the Book of Isaiah. Chapter 2:2-4 contains the oft-quoted verses: And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD?s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his... Read more »

Enhancing Nature

March 10, 2004 | 41 comments
By

At first blush, this may not seem like a serious entry, but it is. (Well, mostly serious anyway.) The other night, I was watching television just before midnight. I don’t remember the program for sure, but since I have a limited palate, it must have been Law & Order, Monk, or a college baskeball game. In other words, nothing that would have signalled to me that I should be especially cautious about the commercials. Suddenly, I was assaulted by a commercial featuring a woman talking about “that special part of a man’s body.” I could not believe what I... Read more »

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

March 10, 2004 | 15 comments
By

Some think ‘Spare the Rood, Spoil the Child.’ Others say ‘Spare the Iron-Rod-is-the-Word-of-God, Spoil the Child.’ Me, what I have in mind is a supple willow switch. It was good enough for my father and my grandfather and all the school-of-hard-knocks Scotch-Irish rest of us. We may be brutes, but at least we’re mannerly, respectable brutes. :) Ah, well. Enough of these fond reminisces. Discipline, that’s our theme. I’ve been reading a Protestant father on discipline. He’s articulate and thoughtful and has helped at least this reader see that the Rod and the Rod and the Rood are intertwined. Read more »

A Mormon Image: Elijah Abel

March 10, 2004 | 16 comments
By
A Mormon Image: Elijah Abel

Elijah Abel is generally thought to be the first black Mormon. (Click on the picture to the right for a larger image.) He was most likely born into slavery and escaped to Canada via the Underground Railroad. In 1832 he was baptized by Ezekial Roberts. In 1836 he was ordained an elder, most likely by Joseph Smith. He was later ordained a Seventy and during the course of his life he served at least three proselyting missions. He came west with the Saints, settling in Salt Lake City, where he worked on the Salt Lake Temple as a carpenter,... Read more »

If you happen to be in California this weekend . . .

March 9, 2004 | 3 comments
By

The Miller-Eccles Group has a speaker coming that sounds quite interesting. March 13, 2004 Speaker: Prof. Karen Torjeson Subject: LDS and their place in the Mosaic of Early Christian Belief-and-Why Claremont Graduate University Wants to Establish a Chair of Mormon Studies Time: 7:30 p.m. You will enjoy a riveting a stimulating presentation on comparisons and contrasts of Latter-day Saint doctrine and teachings with early Christianity, particularly with respect to the Godhead and Christology; the place of Mormonism in the mosaic of Christian belief and practices; Claremont Graduate University’s relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls (and any connection to BYU’s... Read more »

A Mormon Image: PETA Goes After the Mormons

March 9, 2004 | 47 comments
By
A Mormon Image: PETA Goes After the Mormons

Vegetarians seems to be making a serious bid for Mormon converts. Check out this story and this bill board: I can only assume that they have been reading T&S. For extended commentary, including links to the Church PR Deptartment’s reaction go to A Soft Answer. Read more »

Heaven, Hell, and Nothing Else

March 9, 2004 | 3 comments
By

In the Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis lays out his vision of a universe where everything and everyone must choose between Heaven and Hell. There is nothing else to choose and the choice is absolute. “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” “Everything becomes more and more itself.” He argues that every good choice, if taken to its logical conclusion, leads to complete submission and holiness. Every bad choice, if taken to its logical conclusion,... Read more »

The Political Limits of Agency

March 9, 2004 | 42 comments
By

Mormons frequently invoke the idea of “agency” (whatever that means) in political discussions. We generally invoke it in liberal ways, as a justification for not regulating some for of behavior. What I want to question is this easy link between “agency” and liberalism. In the formulation given by John Stuart Mill, liberalism invokes freedom as a reason to abstain from regulating self-regarding activity. I think that when Mormons invoke the idea of “agency” to make liberal arguments they generally do so in some sort of a vaguely Millian way. However, given the theological uses to which the concept of... Read more »

Committees and Technology

March 9, 2004 | 11 comments
By

We’re all aware of church committee meetings, the bane of our existence. (The oft-recycled joke is that the “Fourteenth Article of Faith” goes something like “We believe in meetings, correlation, committees, sub-committees, . . .”). In a recent thread, Steve Evans comments: My suggestion: embrace technology — the e-committee is the future of the Church. Is the e-committee — having meetings through chat, e-mail or IM — a good idea? I can think of reasons that it might not work well –the digital divides between rich and poor and between young and old; lack of knowledge of computers; potential... Read more »

The Progression and Perfection of God

March 9, 2004 | 48 comments
By

I’ve been thinking recently about how to reconcile the two ideas of the perfection of God and the principle of eternal progression. We read that God is perfect; and therefore we may think that he has reached some end point or finish line in his progression. At the same time, we read that as God is now, man may become, and we are told that our exaltation will involve eternal progression; these two ideas, read together, suggest that God continues to progress. (Query: Does this refer to the Father? The Son? Both? Since we believe that the God we... Read more »

Babies in the Temple

March 8, 2004 | 7 comments
By

When my wife was still about 8 months pregnant, she stopped by the ______ Temple (location deleted to protect the innocent) to inquire about any guidelines they had regarding attendance while pregnant. (Like how the airlines won’t let you fly, etc.) The matron looked at her with great concern and said, “You’re not planning on having the baby here, are you? Because we’d strongly discourage that.” We were rather stunned, both at the idea and that someone felt the situation warranted mentioning it at all. Read more »

Dealing with the day-to-day

March 8, 2004 | 11 comments
By

Jedd asked whether some of our blogging couldn’t focus on more day-to-day challenges. I’m sympathetic to his request. It made me think of my own experience, a time when I could have used advice. Read more »

Sunday School Lesson 11

March 8, 2004 | 16 comments
By

Lesson 11: 2 Nephi 31-33 Chapter 31 Verse 2: What does the word “doctrine” mean? Why is what Nephi and Jacob have written sufficient? Sufficient for what? The phrase, “the doctrine of Christ” can be understood to mean “the doctrine that comes from Christ” or “the doctrine about Christ.” Which meaning do you think Nephi intends? Read more »

Discussing the Gospel

March 8, 2004 | 45 comments
By

Over the course of the past four months, several people on this blog have mentioned that they appreciate the opportunity provided by T&S to discuss the Gospel in depth. Does this strike anyone else as odd? Read more »

Losing a Child

March 7, 2004 | 28 comments
By

On March 5, 1987, my son Neill Earl Smith was born. Three months later, he died of pneumonia. He was a victim of a rare neurological disorder known as Werdnig-Hoffman Syndrome. He would be 17 years old now. My wife and I have had five other children, but I still miss him. Read more »

A Nepotistic Link

March 7, 2004 | 7 comments
By

My brother (who is normally a sportswriter) has this article in today’s Deseret News, dealing with Mormon tours of Central America. Noel Reynolds, Stephen Houston, and Brian Birch weigh in. I’ll have to tell him that Sorenson’s book is “An Ancient *American* Setting . . .” Read more »

T&S = Instructor’s Manual

March 7, 2004 | 5 comments
By

I just returned from a conference in Oregon, and found an email from a T&S regular, who related a story about her husband using one of our discussions to teach a Seminary class. I have done the same thing (several times), and I was wondering whether anyone else has had a similar experience. Do you ever use the insights gained here in teaching? Read more »

Mormon Baby Names

March 6, 2004 | 32 comments
By

Is this an archetypal thing for a new father to be doing on a Saturday night, sneaking a post while/whenever the kid is asleep? We just went through a nerve-wracking and overly self-conscious process to coming up with 1) lists of baby names, 2) baby naming approaches, and 3) ways to avoid blundering into some naming meta-trend we weren’t aware of. Ultimately, we named our daughter Ada Catherine, inspired by my wife’s great great-grandmother, Ada Philena. Of course, both double names and great grandmother-era names are both trends in themselves. So, is it a particularly Mormon trend? What is/are... Read more »

Thanks Linda, and Welcome Greg

March 6, 2004 | 5 comments
By

Linda Hoffman Kimball’s illustrious run as a guest-blogger ended yesterday, and I’m sure everyone here joins me in thanking her for the great posts. Hopefully we’ll hear from you again soon, Linda! Our newest guest blogger, Greg Allen, joins us today. I was a fan of Greg’s critically-acclaimed blog for a while before I came across a post that outed him as someone who could contribute to our discussion here. Here’s a bit of a bio: Read more »

State v. Bell and Changes to Marriage

March 5, 2004 | 17 comments
By

Bob Herbert’s New York Times column cites to an 1872 Tennessee case that upheld a law prohibiting interracial marriage. See State v. Bell, 66 Tenn. 9. The Tennessee Court wrote that: Extending the rule to the width asked for by the defendant, and we might have in Tennessee the father living with his daughter, the son with the mother, the brother with the sister, in lawful wedlock, because they had formed such relations in a State or country where they were not prohibited. The Turk or Mohammedan, with his numerous wives, may establish his harem at the doors of... Read more »

Charity and the Ex Post/Ex Ante Dilemma

March 5, 2004 | 35 comments
By

We are supposed to help those who are in need. The scriptures seem to be quite clear about this. And that, of course, is the problem. I have phrased the issue in what legal theorists call the ex post perspective. We take need as given and the morally relevant question is what our response to the need should be. Our decision is seen as being an after-the-fact (in this case the fact is need) event. The problem, of course, is that we can also look at our decision from what legal theorists call an ex ante perspective. Rather than... Read more »

Righteous or Wicked?

March 5, 2004 | 28 comments
By

I once asked a sage I know, “Do Mormons believe the nature of man is good or evil?” He answered, “Yes.” How wonderful, how zenny, how true. Read more »

More on the Passion

March 5, 2004 | 10 comments
By

Greg Easterbrook has a great comparison of Gibson’s Passion with Frano Zepherelli’s Jesus of Nazareth. I am a huge Zepherelli fan and I quite liked Jesus of Nazareth, although I haven’t seen The Passion. Easterbrook’s conclusion is that the Zepherelli’s is a better movie because it has more narrative and characterization and sticks more closely to the Gospels. Easterbrook writes,”The Christ story is among the most compelling ever told, yet directors can’t resist adding invented characters who are unnecessary.” The same can be said of the Church’s recent film Testaments, which is supposedly about the Book of Mormon, but... Read more »

Favorite Colmunist(s)

March 4, 2004 | 28 comments
By

It’s completely off-topic, but I saw Greg’s comment about Maureen Dowd, and thought that it might be fun to start a discussion of our favorite, and / or least favorite, columnists. Read more »

Shameless Self-Promotion

March 4, 2004 | 4 comments
By

For those who are interested, I have started a new blog called Tutissima Cassis. The idea is that I will blog on law and politics over there, and religion over here. Enjoy! Read more »

Sunday School Lesson 10

March 4, 2004 | 2 comments
By

Thanks for your patience with me. I should have posted this days ago, but this has been one of those lives. Lesson 10: 2 Nephi 26-30 These questions will concentrate on 2 Nephi 26:20-31, 27:24-30, 28:11-15, and 28:19-24. Read more »

High School

March 4, 2004 | 7 comments
By

Driving my daughter to Seminary and then to high school this morning, I learned an amazing amount about the social structure of Middleton High School. According to my daughter, the most despised group is the “Populars.” This is ironic because, as you may know if you have teenagers, the Populars aren’t … they just act like they are. The “Semi-Populars” (at this point, I am already beginning to think that she is making this up as we go) are really the most popular. These are kids who don’t act popular, but are really decent people, usually with a good... Read more »

A Smoot Book

March 3, 2004 | 6 comments
By
A Smoot Book

Kathleen Flake of Vanderbilt divinity school has just published what looks like a very interesting book with UNC press. She traces out the history of the Reed Smoot hearings, arguing that they were a pivotal event in defining the role of religion in American public life. Reed Smoot was an monogamist Apostle who was elected to the Senate at the turn of the 20th century. At the time, many Mormons continued to be polygamists from pre-Manifesto plural marriages. In addition, there had been a large number of secret, post-Manifesto plural marriages. These marriages, along with accusations that the Church... Read more »

WELCOME

Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.