Review: Northey, et. al., “Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing”

Title: Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing Authors: Margot Northey, Bradford A. Anderson, Joel N. Lohr Publisher: Oxford University Press Genre: Religion/Research Year: 2011 Pages: 240 Binding: Paperback ISBN13: 9780195439526 Price: $19.95Had I never hopped into post-secondary education, this book would give me a good sense of the practical things I was missing out on. The operative word in the title Making Sense in Religious Studies is "in," rather t … [Read more...]

“Train up a child in the way s/he should go”: a book on undergrad research in religious studies

Teaching Undergraduate Research in Religious Studies is a collection of essays from sixteen faculty members trying to formulate better approaches for undergraduate research in Religious Studies. I'm pretty sure it is the first book which tackles the idea of directed undergrad research specifically in the field of religious studies. Interestingly, they drew on earlier efforts to design useful undergraduate research programs, specifically the "apprenticeship model of education" first defined  in th … [Read more...]

the mARTyrdom of joseph smith

June 27, 1844 marked the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Artist Andrew Knaupp's depictions of this event are my favorite, though you won't see them in official church publications. For instance, here's one of Joseph firing his weapon:Andrew also includes youtube video commentary of his pieces: I've written elsewhere about complaints regarding the historical accuracy of church art. I appreciate Knaupp's attention to detail, and his somewhat unique style. I also thought Seth Adam Smith did … [Read more...]

Friday fun: Most Holy Traffic Report Ever?

I can't remember if this clip made the bloggernacle rounds back when it first hit the web, but in case you missed it, here's a local traffic reporter in Utah reporting under the influence of cold medication:FM100 Holiest Traffic Report … [Read more...]

Book Review: Schweizer, “Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism”

Title: Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism Author: Bernard Schweizer Publisher: Oxford University Press Genre: Religion Year: 2010 Pages: 246 ISBN13: 978-0-19-975138-9 Binding: Hardcover Price: $29.95In the face of inexplicable and extreme personal suffering, the biblical Job refuses to turn on the God who gave him life: "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). His property and children are destroyed, his body is inflicted with sores. … [Read more...]

“Sounds like Satan’s plan!”

From the recent Newsweek coverage of us Mormons: Congressman Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) sees an even deeper connection between his faith and his economic and political views. According to Mormon tradition, God and Satan fought a “war in heaven” over the question of moral agency, with God on the side of personal liberty and Satan seeking to enslave mankind. Flake acknowledges that the theme of freedom—and the threat of losing it—runs through much of Mormonism, and “that kind of fits my philosophy.” (Alt … [Read more...]

I’m pitching the Whipple biography with all my might

Title: "Swell Suffering": A Biography of Maureen Whipple Author: Veda Tebbs Hale Publisher: Greg Kofford Books Genre: Biography Year: 2011 Pages: 456 ISBN13: 9781589581241 Binding: Paperback Price: $31.95Yes, I'm cross-posting this book review from, my old haunt, my book review depository. I'd like to add one comment in this version of the review. I failed to mention that this book has one pretty serious, in my view glaring, error. Basically it's this: Whipple deserves a … [Read more...]

Manifesto Against “TBM”

This post isn't a direct response to Chris's or Enoch's posts, but I want to touch on some of the same issues which I've been mulling over for the past year or so. Especially the label "TBM." Joanna Brooks used it in her recent RD column: "Romney is what many Mormons call a TBM--or "true-believing Mormon"—an orthodox believer and devout practitioner of the faith."1 Contrary to Brooks, I don't know that "many Mormons" would use that label at all. I suspect that not one in ten Mormons, active or o … [Read more...]