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...]

Wheat and Tares Apologetics: A Case Study

In a previous post I provided a general description of one kind of apologetics that, in my opinion, is not fit for an academic institution or even for discussions aiming to debate ideas or intellectual positions. In this post I would like to revisit the notion of Wheat and Tares Apologetics by looking at a specific case: Bill Hamblins’ (BH) exchange with David Bokovoy (DB).My thesis is quite simple: Wheat and tares apologetics is not an appropriate form of discourse for intellectual debate b … [Read more...]

FAIR and “These Are Our Sisters”

We've written quite a bit about apologetics in the past couple of years. Some of it has been quite critical, and some of it constructive.FAIR is one of the prominent LDS apologetic organizations, and it has occassionally been the object of our criticism. The recent post on FAIR's blog, "These Are Our Sisters," however, deserves further attention; and a whole lot of praise. … [Read more...]

Two LDS Perspectives on Religious Studies (A Parody)

Two LDS scholars have recently voiced their thoughts on the academic study of religion. One can be found here; the other can be found on pages 136-145 of the recent issue of the Religious Educator (14.3, 2013). I’ve brought these two pieces into dialogue for the readers of FPR.NOTE: I have taken things out of context, but I have not changed any of the words except as marked by parentheses.Enjoy! … [Read more...]

A Mormon’s Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the courage to question my leaders;the humility to accept their answers;and the prudence to know when courage becomes arrogance, and humility becomes complaisance. … [Read more...]

Doubt and the Dangers of Reading Alone

A lot has already been said about the Hans Mattsson article in the NYT. One issue, however, that I feel needs further exploration is how crises of faith might be approached from a more therapeutic or pastoral angle. Below are some excerpts from a sacrament talk I delivered at the beginning of this year. I hope it might contribute to the recent discussions of doubt and faith crises in Mormonism.This invitation to speak coincided with a presentation I attended on Islam. The presenter studied … [Read more...]

The Value of an Outsider’s Perspective

LDSHymns

Several years ago I was asked to accompany an investigator to church.We showed up a few minutes early and sat in the chapel. On the way to church, this investigator explained that he had never been to a Christian service before. He seemed quite eager to take in the experience.After I briefly introduced what takes place in a sacrament meeting service, we sat quietly in the chapel. Several moments went by as he looked around, and then asked, "What does that mean?" He was pointing to the organ p … [Read more...]

Breaking the Ivory Ceiling

As a LDS studying religion, it's not uncommon to hear the claim that Mormons have a hard time getting hired in religious studies departments; especially if they study Mormonism.Before 6 or so years ago there were 3 LDSs I am aware of that had a tenured (or tenure track) position in a religious studies (or theology) department:* … [Read more...]


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