FairMormon Speaker: What Difference Does Religious Faith Make?

    R. Scott Lloyd, of the Deseret News, provides a good article on my remarks as the closing speaker of the 2017 FairMormon conference, which took place last Thursday and Friday in Provo’s Utah Valley Convention Center:   http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865686266/FairMormon-speaker-What-difference-does-religious-faith-make.html   ***   There are two predominantly atheist ex-Mormon message boards that I look in on from time to time, as a way of staying current with the issues agitating the hive.  It’s always . . . er, interesting to… Read more

“God Almighty does not hear the prayers of a Jew,” Part Two

    “Leader Of Trump Cabinet Bible Study: God Only Hears Prayers Of ‘Righteous’ Christians”   This reminds me of an Islamic story told about the patriarch Abraham:   It is said that Abraham liked to invite guests to his tent.  He was good to travellers.  He would take them into his tent and give them food to eat and a place in which to sleep.  This attribute of his is even described in the Qur’an, and hospitality remains a cardinal virtue among the Bedouin… Read more

“Sunshine in the Soul”

    I just came across this 2010 blog entry, which addresses a pet peeve of mine:   “The Real Meaning of the Term ‘Help Meet'”   In fact, I myself wrote a 2013 column for the Deseret News on the same topic:   “How was Eve ‘an help meet’ for Adam?”   One of my self-appointed missions in life is to help obliterate the term helpmeet from Mormon jargon.   ***   A nice little essay in the Deseret… Read more

Saturday Evening Report

    We’re just back from participating in the Interpreter Foundation’s fifth birthday party.  About 85-90 volunteers, authors, donors, and members of our board gathered for a wonderful barbecue dinner created by board member Bruce Webster, who is a barbecue master.  Our neighbor Margaret Dayton did much of the rest of the food preparation.  Lots of people came beforehand to help with set-up, and many hands made light work of clean-up afterwards.   Our speaker for the evening, on Mormonism and the… Read more

Simony, Slander, FairMormon, Tyranny, and Fine-Tuning

    The latest iteration of the bi-weekly column by William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson has appeared in the Deseret News:   “Simony — buying and selling church offices — and the Reformation”   ***   For those who might be interested, a video of the final presentation at this year’s FairMormon annual conference is now available on the FairMormon Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/fairmormon/?hc_ref=ARTGE5Bn6YKl4Cbx9E-SzFboSz5AoWV65SLFw2O7y5vFcpWfwr60pjNijey04eYIm5c   This is the presentation against which a Facebook poster strenuously warned us all early yesterday… Read more

FairMormon, Day Two, Part Four (and Other Matters)

    The third and last installment of Duane Boyce’s essay has appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:   “A Lengthening Shadow: Is Quality of Thought Deteriorating in LDS Scholarly Discourse Regarding Prophets and Revelation? Part Three”   ***   Notwithstanding my earlier reservations, I decided to stay for the last presenter of 2017’s annual FairMormon conference.  But I talked all the way through his remarks, and I have absolutely nothing to say about them.   Those who… Read more

FairMormon, Day Two, Part Three

    Tyler Griffin gave an excellent presentation under the title “Book of Mormon Geographical References: Internal Consistency Taken to a New Level.”   Expressly without committing himself to a “Heartland” or Baja or Mesoamerican geographical model, Dr. Griffin laid out some basic but very significant internal geographical information derived from the text of the Book of Mormon.   He’s impressed by both the complexity of the Book of Mormon’s internal geography and by its consistency in detail.  As am… Read more

FairMormon, Day Two, Part Two

    I’m listening to Dr. Janiece Johnson right now, who is addressing the topic of “Restoring the Tapestry of the Restoration: Early Women’s Witness.”   It’s a good talk.   I posted a blog entry about a book that she was involved in some time back:   “The Witness of Women”   ***   Based on comments made by a poster on Facebook earlier today, I’m very worried about the conference’s concluding speaker, who is listed on the program for… Read more

FairMormon, Day Two, Part One

    Coming to you, once more, from the floor of the 2017 FairMormon conference at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo.   Ben Spackman, in an excellent address titled “Truth, Scripture, and Interpretation: Some Precursors to Reading Genesis,” laid out a strong case, in effect, for the fallibility of scripture.  His argument is quite congenial to me.  I can’t recall ever having been a scriptural inerrantist.  I probably was as a child, to the very limited extent that I thought about it,… Read more

FairMormon, Day One, Part Four

    Scott Petersen, executive director of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology in BYU’s Marriott School of Management, took his audience through certain early Christian writings on issues such as the Trinity, human deification, and baptism for the dead that are of particular interest to Latter-day Saints.  His remarks were titled “Jesus Christ, the Same Yesterday, Today and Forever: A Restoration of Primitive Christianity.”   ***   Scott Gordon, the long-time president of FairMormon, spoke on the ever-popular… Read more