Religious Education’s New Curriculum: A Tale of Two Authorities

The Church has decided to revamp the curriculum for the Church Educational System, which includes Institute programs and (more relevant for this post) BYU’s schools of Religious Education. Whereas the previous curriculum required four courses—two courses on the Book of Mormon, one course on the Doctrine and Covenants, and one course on the New Testament; the new curriculum will require four courses with the following titles: Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel, Teachings and Doctrines of the … [Read more...]

LDS Curriculum and the Priestly Hermeneutical Tradition

A guest post from from friend-of-the-blog Silence Dogood.The recently announced changes in CES curriculum represent something much more than what is taught at BYU campuses, institutes, and seminaries. Rather, it is an embodiment of a particular strain of scriptural interpretation that plays a central role in the modern Church.One could argue that Mormonism was founded upon the question of scriptural interpretation. Joseph Smith, upset that the many religions of his day “understood the s … [Read more...]

Reminder: Faith and Knowledge Conference Deadline!

Nearly 10 years ago, this conference came together as the first dedicated space for LDS graduate students in religion and related fields.  If that applies to you, don't miss out on being a part of something really special!  THE FIFTH BIENNIAL FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCEUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville, VAFebruary 27-28, 2015The Faith and Knowledge Conference was established in 2007 to bring together LDS graduate students in religious studies and related … [Read more...]

…Like All the Other Nations

The book of 1 Samuel in the Old Testament contains an account of the debate over gaining a king in Israel. This text from the Deuteronomic History reports an anti-monarchical perspective revealed some serious concerns about the idea of having a king over Israel. Prior to the monarchy, Israel was ruled in a loose confederate tribal system. God was considered to be the king of Israel. The Israelites did not think that this was a particularly effective governing system because they were constantly … [Read more...]

Pseudonyms Rule, Names Drool

Judith Donath, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, has put forward an argument that we have been making for years: pseudonyms are better for online communication.  The Harvard Magazine article discusses the argument in more depth, but basically suggests that anonymity and pseudonymity are two different things.According to her new book, she, "contends that well-managed pseudonyms can strengthen online communities, an idea that contradicts the conventional wisdom tha … [Read more...]

The Aspirational Language of Mormonism

This post is a guest submission from Isaac Black.Recent events in Mormondom, including the excommunication of Kate Kelly and the Church's blog posts on controversial topics like the priesthood ban and polygamy, have prompted a higher scrutiny of seemingly basic terms of the religion. What defines apostasy? What precisely is priesthood? Even, what is doctrine? It is my observation that Mormon vocabulary, rather than being strict and legalistic as some of the more textually inclined among us … [Read more...]

An Apologetics of Care

When people leave the church over intellectual issues, I believe that part of what this means is that people leave the church because of the feelings associated with confronting these issues. In other words, when a LDS learns that Joseph Smith engaged in polyandry, for instance, it usually occurs in a context that induces fear and loneliness, which eventually leads to frustration and anger. Such a person may not be literally alone when he or she discovers Joseph’s polyandry (although he may be; f … [Read more...]

Announcement: THE FIFTH BIENNIAL FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCE

University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA February 27-28, 2015The Faith and Knowledge Conference was established in 2007 to bring together LDS graduate students in religious studies and related disciplines in order to explore the interactions between religious faith and scholarship. During the past four conferences, students have shared their experiences in the church and the academy and the new ideas that have emerged as a result. Papers and conversations provided thought-provoking … [Read more...]


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