Dallin H. Oaks and Subtext

Have you ever listened to an entire talk on a subject wherein the subject was determinedly left unmentioned? I heard such a talk last Sunday night: Dallin H. Oaks’ CES devotional broadcast to single adults. The talk was titled “Truth and Tolerance,” but another, more intrepid Apostle might have named the same talk, “A Defense of the LDS Position on Gay Marriage.”

While never mentioning same-sex attraction, Elder Oaks gave several references that made it clear to the discerning listener what he had in mind. For example, Continue reading “Dallin H. Oaks and Subtext”

Mormon Women’s Texts and the New RS History, “Daughters in My Kingdom”

The much-heralded Relief Society history Daughters in my Kingdom commissioned by General President Julie B. Beck is now available online and will soon be distributed to Relief Society sisters all over the world. My preliminary reading of the book got me thinking about religious texts for Mormon women: what they are, their effectiveness and usefulness to LDS females, and how this latest work compares with what has gone before. I’d like this to be an interactive post, as commenters may be able to reference texts I haven’t thought of, as well as provide uniquely personal ideas about the effects these texts have had upon their lives. Continue reading “Mormon Women’s Texts and the New RS History, “Daughters in My Kingdom””

Speculation Upon The Kody Brown Polygamy Case

Taken from remarks made by a panel at the 2011 Sunstone Symposium. Participants were Kaimi Wenger, asst. professor at Thomas Jefferson Law School; Ben Winslow, multi-media journalist for Fox 13 News; DeWayne Hafen, practicing polygamist from Baja California; Cheryl Bruno, permablogger at FPR. Also remarks made at a meeting of the Apostolic United Brethren in Rocky Ridge, Utah, 8/7/11.

It doesn’t take a law degree to understand the ins and outs of the Kody Brown Polygamy case currently being filed in Utah. But it does take an understanding of a few key points. For example, to how many people do you have to be married to be prosecuted for bigamy in Utah? Did you answer two or more? Nope. It’s zero. Continue reading “Speculation Upon The Kody Brown Polygamy Case”

Should Mormons in the “Diaspora” Celebrate Pioneer Day?

It has only been in recent years that I have slowly become aware that not every convert to the Church shares my deep identification with the Mormon pioneers. I have loved the epic story of the trek to the Salt Lake Valley. I appreciate its archetypal connotations. My heart thrills with the stories of the pioneer heroes and heroines, and I consider each of their stories part of my legacy as a Mormon, though my LDS heritage begins with myself.

In the last few years there has been some grumbling by members who don’t have Mormon pioneers in their genealogy that it annoys them to celebrate the July 24th holiday, a commemoration of the day the first company of pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. Continue reading “Should Mormons in the “Diaspora” Celebrate Pioneer Day?”

License to Sin

Lately whenever I’ve visited out in SLC I’ve had a meetup with my evangelical Christian buddy, Aaron — the one who is known for standing out on Temple Square with a sign on Thursday evenings. Every time I return from an evening of bandying scripture about, I am prone to much reflection on the nature of salvation. And because I’m more disposed to connection than disassociation, I like to ponder the points of contact between traditional Christianity and modern Mormonism.

The fathers of the early Christian church and their successors believed that salvation began at one’s baptism. When someone was baptized the sins which s/he had committed until that point in life (plus his or her share of original sin) were forgiven. But since everyone continues to be plagued with sin after baptism (1 John 1:8, 10), a plan whereby post-baptismal sins could be atoned for was necessary. Continue reading “License to Sin”

Do Mormons Need a “Nostra Aetate” of Their Own?

In 1965 the Second Vatican Council produced a declaration on the relation of the Catholic church with non-Christian religions. In this document, “Nostra Aetate” (In Our Age), the Catholic Church revolutionized its relations with Jews by saying Christ’s death could not be attributed to Jews as a whole at the time or today.

A forthcoming book by Pope Benedict XVI supports and furthers this doctrine. In the second volume of “Jesus of Nazareth”, which will be released by Ignatius Press on March 10, the Pope explains that although scripture has the Jewish crowd shouting, “Let his blood be on us and on our children,” as they demand that Pilate execute Jesus, the crowd should be read to represent all humanity. News sources are hailing this excitedly with headlines like: “Pope Exonerates Jews…” and “Pope Absolves Jews…” For the interest of FPR readers, I am going to include a lengthy excerpt from the book, which has been released as a “trailer” from the publishers. Pertinent information to this post is in bold type. Continue reading “Do Mormons Need a “Nostra Aetate” of Their Own?”

Spiritual Gifts: The Cessationist Controversy from an LDS Perspective

Debate over spiritual gifts is about as old as the first New Testament passage describing them. Paul’s discourse and description of the gifts in 1 Corinthians is a response to the first-century Church’s turmoil over the nature and practice of these gifts.

The Montanist heresy is evidence of continued confusion in the second and third century.  From references found in Eusebius and others we learn that one of the greatest arguments between Montanists and the Church in Asia Minor was whether or not true prophecy could take place in an ecstatic state of hallucination and frenzy. Writings by Hilary and Ambrose suggest that the gifts of prophecy and speaking and interpreting in tongues were present in the Christian church well into the fourth century. Beginning with the fifth century, theologians such as John Chrysostom began to lament the waning of these gifts, though revivals continued to crop up periodically. In A.D. 1000 the Rituale Romanorum (Roman Ritual) defined glossolalia as prima facie evidence of demon possession. But in the centuries following, prophecy and tongues were found in groups such as the Waldenses in the 1100’s, the Franciscans in the 1200’s, the Anabaptists in the 1500’s, the Quakers in the 1600’s, the Methodists of England in the 1700’s, the Second Great Awakening in the 1800’s, and the Pentecostal Revival in the U.S. in the 1900’s.

Spiritual gifts, especially those of tongues and prophecy, Continue reading “Spiritual Gifts: The Cessationist Controversy from an LDS Perspective”

John the Baptist: Typology and Fulfillment

I  recently read an essay by James M. Hamilton which has refined my perception of typology in the Old Testament and which I would like to discuss in regards to John the Baptist and the gospel of Matthew. As we know, Matthew presents a series of at least 16 Old Testament prophecies which he declares are fulfilled in the events surrounding the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus of Nazareth. A representative few of these prophecies are as follows: Continue reading “John the Baptist: Typology and Fulfillment”

Snopes, Saints, and Santa

Recently I received a phone call from Sam’s Club in which I was informed that through a store promotional I had won six months worth of free gas for my car.  I was thrilled at the news and listened eagerly as the representative explained the details of my winnings.  Ten minutes into the call, as part of the information needed to complete the transaction, I was asked for my credit card number. “Dang!” I exclaimed.  “And I TOTALLY thought you were for real! How disappointing.”  Laughing, the man hung up.

A skeptical generation, we have been taught to disbelieve.   Continue reading “Snopes, Saints, and Santa”

Give Me Proof of Eternity…

You probably shouldn’t even read this post unless you have a poetic soul.

…but if you do, you might have these strange melancholy moods, where you read sad poetry for days, and don’t eat.  When I’m in this mood, I read my main man Algernon Charles Swinburne, Victorian poet.  I discovered Charles when I read his poem The Garden of Proserpine. You’ll probably recognize it–especially the last two stanzas which hauntingly embrace the inevitability of death. Continue reading “Give Me Proof of Eternity…”