Mormon Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It?

Occasionally, one hears Mormons (usually laypeople) critiquing Protestants for slavish and uncritical interpretation of the Bible, for "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" kind of bibliolatry. Certainly, some Protestants merit this critique. The intellectual crisis and problems among Protestants, and their effects on American culture and politics have been written about extensively by Mark Noll (e.g. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind), Randall Balmer, George Marsden, Grant Wacker, K … [Read more...]

Quick Thoughts on D&C 1:30 “the only true and living Church”

A few scattered thoughts on what "the only true and living Church" might and might not mean. … [Read more...]

The Blog in the Coming Year and D&C

I've agonized a bit over how to handle D&C this year. Here's what I have decided and why.If you compare my posts from the last few months to virtually any of my Old Testament posts, you'll notice a distinct difference in length and quality. I've not been very happy with what I put out for the 2nd half of the Book of Mormon; I've taught that half much less, and so had far fewer blog-ready notes. I've also been wrestling with challenging coursework and papers, which do not allow much luxu … [Read more...]

Santa Claus is Canaanite! Really.

I've plugged Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) before, a great magazine (with pictures!) aimed at interested laypeople. It used to have a sister-magazine called Bible Review, but then they were folded together so that BAR now deals with texts, history, and archaeology of the Bible in a way non-scholars can profit from. It's scholarly, includes multiple perspectives, and the letters to the editor are illustrative and amusing. Worth subscribing to.One of my favorite articles was written by … [Read more...]

New/Forthcoming books of Interest

Update: Between now and Dec 5, get 5$ off any physical Amazon book order of 15$ or more. Details here.One of the things I love about the massive American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature conference is the football's field worth of booksellers with discounts, new books, preorders, and giveaways. A few recent and forthcoming popular books might be of interest to my readers. To be clear, I haven't read any of these yet, but I hope to. … [Read more...]

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 45-46: Ether

A few general notes about the Book of Ether.First, unlike the other two Book of Mormon migratory peoples, the Jaredites (as we call them) are not Jews under the Law of Moses. Abraham>Isaac>Jacob (Israel)>>>>Moses. They're not even Israelite (also a late term) or Canaanite, but Mesopotamian. So they are operating under a different set of religious ideas, different language (Sumerian, Akkadian, something else? Hebrew isn't an option), different cultural background than the res … [Read more...]

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 41: 3Ne 22-26

A couple of notes first. I'll be in San Antonio for the annual joint Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion meeting in late November, plus a few extra days with family. This is a massive, multi-day meeting with thousands of people and dozens of concurrent sessions, all day every day. It's a place to see lots of current scholarship and debate, meet people, do job interviews (not me, this time around), and also drool at the massive and discounted book section. Imagine a fo … [Read more...]

A Vague Post on Joseph Fielding Smith, Evolution, and Other Sides of His Story

People are multi-faceted and complex. It's very easy to develop an attitude of putting either a halo or a black hat on someone from one incident, one aspect of them, particularly when it's a historical figure. It can be hard to get a full picture of someone. Elder Maxwell once said that the tragedy of Elder McConkie was that he had the most fantastic sense of humor, and no one in the Church knew it. (See my old post here.)It's well known that Joseph Fielding Smith was strongly opposed to e … [Read more...]