Who’s the Prophet Here?

There are many different views about the validity and effectiveness of Kate Kelly and Ordain Women's campaign to seek redress for long-held institutional sexism, and I think it will take us a long time yet to fully understand what really happened this week as many people stopped to reflect more deeply about the state and future of Mormonism and whether that Mormonism is something they recognize or even want to belong to.But for the moment, I just wanted to note the irony from a sociological … [Read more...]

The Book of Mormon as Myth and More on the Name Alma

So to begin with I wanted to clarify my attitude about the BoM and why I write so much on the topic of its historicity. Because I don’t want to be seen simply as a critic or be pigeonholed along with tendentious anti-BoM ideologues. I actually see a great amount of value in the BoM and respect it as a work of early 19th century mythopoesis of unrivaled scope and complexity. The BoM recounts a rich and compelling narrative, articulates many useful moral principles (though these should be examined … [Read more...]

Alma and Adieu: When Will the Tired Apologetic Arguments End?

In his recent op-ed to the Deseret News, Daniel Peterson has trotted out two old FARMS style proofs that supposed anachronisms in the BoM aren't really such, framing his argument within a rhetorical context that some unspecified "critics" are anxiously engaged in a tendentious search for "concepts or items mistakenly inserted into its supposedly ancient story by an ignorant or careless modern author.""But we know now, from evidence found slightly more than 50 years ago, that “Alma” is an aut … [Read more...]

Female Voice and the Prophetess Huldah

There has been a lot of talk lately about gender equality and whether women have real voices in the church vis a vis the all male priesthood. Of course, the standard position of church leaders is that women are equally valued and that their perspectives are given full and appropriate consideration given the divinely ordained channels of revelation to the regularly constituted authorities. But somehow this rhetoric that “women are equally valued and listened to” has not been able to allay the gro … [Read more...]

The Joseph Story in Genesis and the Documentary Hypothesis

A basic first step in grasping the meaning of a biblical text as it may have been intended to be understood by its original authors is to establish something of its literary history. Most biblical texts developed over a long period of time, beginning with the earliest forms of the texts that served particular ideological purposes in their original historical contexts, then undergoing a succession of various literary and editorial adaptations by scribes and priests for the purpose of creating new … [Read more...]

Sorry Brigham, but we’re all the children of Cain!

With the recent statement disavowing aspects of Mormonism’s tangled history with racism, attention has turned to Bro Brigham and his legacy of the priesthood ban. As is well known, Young believed in line with many of his contemporaries and modern LDS scripture that the mark of Cain mentioned in the Bible was black skin and that Cain’s descendants could be identified with people of African ancestry. As such, they were a lineage under God’s malediction and unworthy of the priesthood, in contrast wi … [Read more...]

The Book of Mormon and the Late War: Direct Literary Dependence?

The rediscovery of the Late War by Gilbert Hunt recently as a possible source for understanding the language, style, and narrative content of the Book of Mormon has already elicited a considerable amount of discussion and debate. After Duane and Chris Johnson’s computer study of more than 100,000 books published before 1830 indicated that a number of texts had a high incidence of distinctive phrases matching the Book of Mormon (BoM) and that among these the most significant may be the Late War ( … [Read more...]

Korihor: An Anachronistic Exemplum of Atheism and Infidelity?

In a recent post TT made some interesting observations about Korihor and secularism in the context of the BoM narrative. He expressed skepticism that Korihor should be understood as an anachronistic representative of Enlightenment atheism and provocatively suggested that the narrative is actually arguing in favor of secularism if understood as the separation of ecclesiastical from political powers. I don’t find this reading of the narrative to be persuasive, however, even though many of TT’s que … [Read more...]