A Letter to My Young Mormon

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Todd, I just finished reading a book by Adam Miller. It is called Letters to a Young Mormon. Others have written books in this format, but this one struck me and I wanted to tell you about it...in a letter. Adam talks about two stories. The story that we want our lives to tell and the story of God's work in your life. The more we try to tell our own story, the more we resist Him. When we do this we are sinning. Todd, I admit...I sometimes try to influence the story of your life. I … [Read more...]

Review: The Challenge of Honesty

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The Challenge of Honesty is a compilation of five essays and twelve and devotionals that were written and delivered by Frances Lee Menlove over the course of forty seven years. The titular essay is the book’s oldest, having been written by Menlove as a part of the inaugural issue of “Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought” in 1966. The most recent essays are two which were written specifically for this volume titled “Untangling Faith and Belief: A Modest ‘Trammel Reduction’ … [Read more...]

Polygamy Researcher Responds to Sister Wives Ruling

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In response to an inquiry from Approaching Justice, author and polygamy researcher Brian C. Hales responded to Friday's ruling by the United States District Court for Utah which ruled that Utah's polygamy laws are unconstitutional. "Theologically, the LDS Church's support of proposition 8 in California was a firm declaration against both polygamy and same-sex marriage," Hales told Approaching Justice. "So I expect such rulings will have no impact on Church teachings or … [Read more...]

Our “Elf on the Shelf” Has Good Taste

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On Monday morning, we awoke to find our "Elf on the Shelf" elf doing some light reading in the living room. He was reading The Examined Life by Robert Nozick. From the above picture, it appears that he was specifically reading the chapter on The Holocaust. This has come in handy, since I am writing specifically about that chapter today. Check back at Approaching Justice tomorrow to see if my collaboration with the elf  produces anything interesting. Merry Christmas! Yes, even to all those … [Read more...]

Is a More Beautiful World Possible?

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I may be the problem. In his new book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, Charles Eisenstein addresses the disconnect we feel in a world that focuses on wealth and individualism. An emptiness becomes apparent as we begin to crave the community and social spirit which has fallen by the wayside in the pursuit of success, power, and wealth. Eisenstein's narrative is a familiar one to me. What he calls "separation," Marx called alienation. I think the value of what Eisenstein … [Read more...]

Put The First Thanksgiving on Your Christmas List

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I loved reading The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History. It is an attempt to tell the real story of Thanksgiving in a way that draws on the methods of academic history, rather than the methods of The History Channel. After Christmas, we will see non-stop airings of documentaries about the historical Christmas and the historical Jesus. I actually enjoy this shows, but they are the donuts of historical study. Lots of mental carbohydrates, … [Read more...]

Emanuel Swedenborg and Life After Death

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Emanuel Swedenborg is an 18th century scientist, thinker, and theologian. His name is one that I have heard of, but I have only recently read from his works. In Our Life After Death: A Firsthand Account from an 18th-Century and Seer, we find Swedenborg's story and argument about the afterlife. Swedenborg grounds his case in both his own near-death experiences and those of others. Swedenborg (1688-1772) takes very seriously the dichotomy of the body and the spirit. It is our spiritual … [Read more...]


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